Open day on Bodmin town plan 'a shambles'
BODMIN residents have demanded a public meeting to discuss radical proposals for the town after an open day on Saturday was described as a "shambles" by some.
A public consultation exercise at Shire House brought an unprecedented response by residents who flocked to the building to air their views.
People complained when brochures containing details of the Bodmin Town Framework ran out within just 30 minutes of the public consultation and exhibition opening, giving them little opportunity to comment fully on the proposals.
There were also complaints that not enough detail was available on major plans to alter the road network in the town, including a new link road through Priory Park which caused most concern among the hundreds of people who attended.
Nor was there enough detail on where 3,200 new houses are proposed or making the town centre a traffic-free zone without access to the framework brochure, complainants said.
The main comment posted on a comment board was the need for a proper public meeting for the local authority to explain exactly what was proposed for Bodmin.
Resident Mandy Mease described the consultation as a mess.
"It was a complete shambles. I arrived at only 11.30am to find that Cornwall Council had already run out of books and survey and comments forms.
"The venue was far too small to accommodate the large volume of concerned people and was inadequately staffed by the council.
"There was not enough information available and what was available was not clearly presented," she said.
Steve Rogerson, who is likely to stand as a Cornwall councillor in the May elections, said he was not convinced by the plan to build a road through Priory Park.
He felt the council officers did their best in the face of so many people attending.
"It was really good to see so many people at the public consultation. I don't think that the organisers expected that number. The few staff who ran the day did an excellent job with the limited resources that they had and they did appear to be really listening.
"I hope they were, because although I am totally supportive of the plan to expand our town over the next 25 to 30 years, this expansion must be carried out sympathetically in order to preserve what is special about Bodmin.
"Of course, we have some traffic management issues but I just cannot accept that the solution to hold-ups on Dennison Road is to vandalise Priory Park."
Asked by the Cornish Guardian if residents would have another opportunity to attend a consultation meeting, the council was non- committal.
Nigel Doyle, the council's assistant head of planning, said: "We were really pleased with how many people attended which shows the high level of community interest.
"We will be contacting those who gave us their names and addresses and requested additional information. The Consultation Draft Bodmin Town Framework is available to view on the council's website and we welcome further comments."
Tim Wood, the council's assistant head of transportation, said: "Consultation is about hearing what people have to say, so I am really pleased with the excellent turnout on Saturday. It seems that many are keen to see growth in Bodmin but don't really believe anything will ever change. The proposed Priory Link Road was understandably a focus for many comments which we will consider in developing the design."
The current consultation period ends on April 22, 2013. The Town Framework is available at www.cornwall.gov.uk/bodmintf and copies are also available to view at Bodmin Library.