In June Greenwich Council decided to hold (with very little notice) a consultation on the “Future Management of Parks and Open spaces”. This is a very hot topic at the moment, with neighbouring Bexley and many other Boroughs considering selling off green spaces – even Greenwich Council has chosen to grant Blackheath Rugby Club a long term lease on Hervey Road Sports Field which looks likely to close the space to the local community.
So the fact that the Council originally advertised that it would release the results of the consultation on 1st August (a month after the consultation closed) but has still not done so is a real concern. I spoke with the Council Officer in charge last week and was subsequently informed that the Council would not be publishing the results of the on-line consultation ‘at this stage’. More worrying still was that the Council considered that this badly publicised on-line survey provided only a partial picture and as groups like younger people were not well represented in the survey they would seek their views separately.
This approach really worries me as it allows the Council to skew the results any way it wants. It can decide which groups are most likely to support its views and then seek them out for further consultation as they were under represented in the initial survey.
Just to be clear this isn’t a real consultation, in my opinion, it is a cynical exercise in gathering views which will support whatever policy Greenwich Council is planning on imposing on the Borough. The Council should publish the results of the on-line survey now (as they promised to do at the start) rather than hiding it until they can ‘consult’ with enough people who might support their own views in order to skew the results.