OBSERVER: Our survey says...better consultation needed


Our councillors have decided to recommend a ban on all drinking in public places in the town.

This is the one subject which – apart from the lack of toilets and the Market Place – has apparently been uppermost over recent months.

One thought I have on the subject is that while understanding the reasoning behind a ban I still think it unfortunate that a family will not be allowed to have a ‘quiet’ drink in Central Park during a picnic because of the actions of many who ought to know better.

However, when you come to look at the figures on which the council took the decision it is one which was taken on the say-so of less than one per cent of the population of the town: whichever way you put it, that doesn’t seem democratic. The survey was one undertaken by the council either online or by way of a paper survey available from the council offices.

On a number of occasions in the past I have suggested that the council should actually publish these surveys in the local press.

They may not get a different result but at least people wouldn’t be able to say they didn’t know about any survey, which was the reaction I got from several friends when asked if they were going to reply.

Once upon a time the council Bulletin used to be delivered to each house; now it is available online. I know it was always full of stories telling us how well the council were doing (and you know my thoughts on that!) but at least we had the choice of reading it or not. And at least residents got to know about the council surveys. So unless we go online to look we are not aware.

Apparently 491 responses were made to the drinking ban survey: would there have been more if it had been published in the local press? Probably not – but at least more residents would have had the opportunity on having a say.