THE former leader of BCP Council told the local authority's current chief there was “mistrust” over the way in which a major consultation on the future of the conurbation was operating.

Liberal Democrat councillor Vikki Slade said the council’s focus on online and digital platforms was causing difficulties for many members of the community.

BCP Council launched its Local Plan issues and options consultation last month.

Concerns have been raised over how many residents are aware of the consultation, the importance of their responses and the complexity of the digital documentation.

Speaking at Tuesday’s overview and scrutiny board meeting, Cllr Slade said: “There is a lot of mistrust actually, I don’t think I am exaggerating by calling it mistrust, that it has been made deliberately complicated to fill in all the forms online, so that normal everyday people can’t possibly fill it in.”

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Vikki SladeCllr Vikki Slade

Cllr Slade said she experienced difficulties herself when attempting to response to the council’s seafront strategy consultation.

“It is not just about having a call centre,” she said.

“It is about saying actually, we are going to have a roadshow for things like the local plan. I think that is really important.”

BCP Council leader Drew Mellor said he “completely agreed” on the subject of face-to-face consultation.

He cited a pause in a consultation related to work in Turlin Moor due to an inability to do in person consultation due to the pandemic as a “clear statement” from the Conservative administration of valuing it and making sure it is integral.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Drew MellorCllr Drew Mellor

Responding to Cllr Slade, Cllr Mellor said: “I will take your point back about the difficulties in the consultations for the seafront strategy and also the local plan in terms of making sure there are face-to-face opportunities there.”

The issues and options consultation is open for responses until March 7.

Details can be found online at Residents can view the consultation online, download and print a PDF copy or pick up a summary paper survey from one of the council’s libraries.