NEARLY £6,000 was spent by the council on a consultation that residents say was “ignored”, it has been revealed. 

BCP Council spent £5,820k including £970 in tax with consultation specialists Enventure Research to analyse the data from the recent Poole Park gate consultation. 

Although the consultation of more than 5,000 people showed that the majority wanted to keep the Whitecliff gates open to through traffic, BCP’s Three Towns Alliance voted to close them. 

The results showed 63 per cent wanted it open, while those in favour of keeping it closed to traffic made up 36 per cent of the respondents and just one per cent had neutral views.

Protesters at Poole ParkProtesters at Poole Park (Image: NQ)

Leave Poole Park Alone campaigner Bob Lister hit out at the consultation’s costs and ultimate outcome, accusing the council of being “totally undemocratic”. 

He said: “The Lib Dem-led council are totally undemocratic. I wouldn’t even call it Lib Dem-led... Andy Hadley is more Green Party. 

"Considering the council is cash strapped, the spending it has done is ridiculous.” 

Opposition leader Phil Broadhead added the current Three Towns Alliance administration has a “they know best” mentality. 

Bob ListerBob Lister

He said: “Awful as it sounds, I think residents are now getting used to Vikki Slade's Lib Dem council simply ignoring the wishes of residents.  

“Last year, they scrapped our plans to halt unauthorised camping on our beaches, despite 75 per cent of residents being in favour of the proposed new powers.  

“And in this new consultation, they're once again ignoring the wishes of respondents; a convincing majority of which clearly wanted this ‘trial closure’ of the road reversed. 

“And the reason? Because ‘they know best’. 

“What an absolute waste of £6000 of taxpayers' money. What is the point in lengthy, expensive consultations if you simply going to ignore the wishes of local people?” 

The numbers, revealed in an FOI by Mr Lister, also showed signage put up during the four-week trial closure costs £252. 

It also showed the officer time to produce the 240-page report to BCP’s place overview and scrutiny committee was approximately 330 hours. 

A BCP Council spokesman said: "We wanted to hear from park users about their experiences in detail. Due to the substantial volume and variety of responses received, we worked with an independent research firm to analyse these comments.  

“These qualitative responses are just as important to the decision-making process as the numbers to help us understand the themes and issues raised during the consultation. It was vital they were clearly presented alongside numerical data and evidence in the detailed report that cabinet based their final decision on. 

“For example, a primary concern highlighted in the responses was the anticipated traffic volumes on alternative routes and extended travel times to the park. These sentiments were presented to cabinet alongside traffic data, which found that closing the Whitecliff Road entrance cut park traffic by about 50 per cent, while causing a 2 per cent increase in traffic on Parkstone Road.  

“In reaching their final decision, cabinet members considered a similar mix of qualitative and quantitative information across a range of issues that were raised by people on both sides of the debate.”