Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: What councils mean by 'consultation' and the towering inferno that wasn't

Ever wondered why people are sceptical about local council 'consultations'?

John Cleese

I think the following story is a pretty good example.

Sandwell Council asked the public for their views on a proposed cycle lane along a hugely busy route from Great Bridge, in Tipton, to Dudley town centre.

The consultation attracted 85 responses, 40 of which were mildly in favour, 44 were vehemently against. Objectors described the plans as 'dangerous' and 'a waste of money'.

Now, granted, it's hardly a landslide, with 52 per cent against, and 48 per cent in favour. A bit like Brexit.

So you probably won't be too surprised to hear that the council decided to go with the 48 per cent, and will plough ahead with the scheme, against the wishes of a small but clear majority.

It reminds me of the old quote from Brian Clough: "If I had an argument with a player, we would sit down for 20 minutes, talk about it, and then decide I was right."