As Bingley Ward Councillors, we have been approached by a number of residents concerned that they will not be able to take part in the consultation on Bradford Council’s Local Plan which has a closing date of 24 March 2021. We would ask that consideration be given to extend the period of the consultation to allow wider public engagement.
There is considerable public interest in Bingley particularly concerning potential housing allocation sites across the ward and it is important that all efforts should be made to facilitate and encourage our local communities to feed in their views – this is simply not possible in the current circumstances. We cannot assume that only the internet savvy are interested in the future of their local communities.
Holding a public consultation during the pandemic with the current lock-down provisions will inevitably depress levels of public engagement. Public libraries and community centres are closed and there is no immediate possibility of holding meetings with community groups to discuss the proposals in the plan
This will prevent some residents, who either do not have access to the internet access or are not confident internet users from feeding in their views. Some of the on-line documents are inevitably complex and difficult to navigate for many people and public access to hard copies would make things easier for some.
The consultation on the local plan must be inclusive and open to all - we ask that the period of the consultation be extended beyond the current lock-down restrictions to enable that all interested local residents and community organisations have the opportunity to respond to the proposed plan.
Cllr David Heseltine
Cllr John Pennington
Cllr Geoff Winnard
Photo from archives, taken prior to COVID-19.