Spaces for People: I've found a better way for Edinburgh Council to consult the public – Helen Martin

Edinburgh Council’s online consultations never seem to be equivalent to a public vote or view.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Edinburgh City Council is holding a city-wide public consultation on which Spaces for People schemes residents may wish to keep permanently.

The phraseology can be a little twisted, vague or complicated, designed to acquire support, rather than genuinely discovering the electors’ wishes.

And it often involves a mere few thousand responses which include what are referred to as “stakeholders”. Like many other people, I would not participate. I’ve never seen them declare the percentage of objections, so what’s the point if it’s biased?

Now the council is spending £60,000 for a public consultation on making permanent its Spaces for People “roadworks”, originally to do with coronavirus, which cost £5 million! Dear knows how much it would cost them to end it as just a temporary nuisance, but perhaps they didn’t even consider that at the start.

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Council to consult Edinburgh residents on making Spaces for People permanent

It’s interesting that the council simply tends to ignore citizens who don’t agree with them. It’s also interesting how much money they are happy to spend on something that many people don’t want.

A cheaper version of gathering people’s opinions is change.org petitions, signed with email addresses. Google it with a starting phrase as “Stop Edinburgh Council making dangerous road changes permanent”.

Rather than consultations which involve 3,000 or perhaps 5,000 people, this petition had received around 11,000 the last time I checked it.

Seriously though, if the council really wants to hear people’s views, it might be better to swap limited “consultations” with two such “yes” or “no” petitions, to find a true response. It would cost them less too.

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