Everyone loves a good public consultation. Administrations especially love them as it gives the impression that they are listening to people and giving residents real influence.
That doesn't mean everything should be hoofed into the slow lane of public consultations of course. They can be expensive, delay decision making and often get little response. Every body loves a good consultation, the word 'good' is a critical.
The Councils plans to have a public consultation on where the next cemetery should be after Worting road is full is a classic example of a 'not good' public consultation.
The options for the new site are;
1) Land next to the Crematorium - the Council has an option on this land that is not in community use at present. It is of sufficient size to last over a hundred and there could be efficiency benefits of working alongside a crematorium
2) The Old Common - this land is also being considered for a football ground and used for events such as Basingstoke Live and the Circus, uses that hardly fit the quiet setting for the dead. Also the report makes it clear the site is too small in any case and therefore it is a non option.
3) Land beyond Rooksdown - My understanding is the owner of this land is not prepared to sell it if it will be used as a graveyard and therefore a non option.
4) Manydown - Obviously there is plenty of space here but it was purchased for housing and until the Council know where the housing is going and the roads needed it would be impossible at this stage to put the cemetery here, so it is a non option.
5) Land at Kempshott - currently used by the local community, and the only alternative venue for major events that attract 25,000 people such as Basingstoke Live and the Firework gala if the Old Common becomes a football ground. Also it is too small to be a long term solution and therefore a non-option.
So everyone in the Council is praying that the consulted select site one as the preferred choice. If they don't then the Council will chose it any way. That is why I have suggested we don't have a public consultation on it.
Council's should never pretend people have influence over something that they are going to do in any event. People get annoyed when they feel ignored and have wasted their time. Then next time they do a 'good' consultation, councils wonder why no one bothered to respond!