This is clearly a response to the issues raised by the 'Save The Ribble' Campaign and local residents around the dangers of a Ribble Barrage, and of a huge housing development in the Ribble's floodplain.
The councillors admit that
"The development will have a major impact on Preston, in particular on local residents living close to, or even on the River Ribble itself".
They say that
"Your local Labour Councillors will support and only support the views of our constituents. We will do this by presenting you with the facts and letting your views guide us. Contrary to scaremongering from some quarters, no decision has been made yet"
1. The Save The Ribble Campaign has not been 'scaremongering' - all the facts we have presented about Riverworks come from Preston City Council's and the City Vision Boards own publications. We challenge the councillors to find a single post on this blog that asserts that any decision has yet been made. What we are objecting to is that the council is even THINKING about such patently stupid, irresponsible and dangerous ideas as a barrage or a floodplain housing developments.
2. The consultation they have released misses the point - it concentrates on the issues in the recent pre-feasiblity study undertaken for the Vision Board, around development in the Docks, and ignores the concerns that are uppermost in local residents minds, about the barrage and the greenbelt housing ideas - instead of addressing these issues, our councillors have skirted round them, promising more consultation at some undetermined point in the future.
3. We have NOT been 'presented with the facts' - Save The Ribble asked to see this pre-feasibility study when it was first published weeks and weeks ago - but we were not allowed to see it, even when we used the Freedom of Information Act. The report is still being kept secret from local people (although we have been assured by those that belong to the exclusive group of those the council trusts enough to see it that there is 'nothing contraversial' in it)
We therefore have the farcical situation where local councillors are trying to consult local residents on an issue where we are not even being allowed by the council to read their reports concerning the proposals we are being consulted about!
If a more comprehensive consultation on the Riverworks proposals had been published, the council would quickly learn that local people do not want a barrage or a huge housing development in our green belt. They could then save themselves the expense of commissioning any further studies into these aspects of their proposals and put residents minds at rest, by dropping them from the 'Riverworks' package. We wonder whether this is why we have not been asked these questions.
It is nice to be 'consulted' - but next time, give us the information we need, and ask us the right questions, otherwise people will suspect that the consultation exercise is just a PR gimmick.
And if you are one of the tens of thousands of people outside Riversway who would also be subject to the environmental and flood risk consequences of the Riverworks barrage, both up and down the river and find yourself still not included in any consultation, perhaps you should be asking Preston City Council why your views are not being sought.