City Councillor promises that residents will be consulted on project to build a barrage across the Ribble – But will this be enough?
Save the Ribble Campaign welcomes the recent statement from Preston Councillor, Jack Davenport, who represents Riversway, that ward councillors would be arranging public consultation in addition to anything organised by the (City) Council (LEP 31/5/06).
Councillor Davenport stated: ‘We don’t want a situation where residents find one day something is happening and they did not have the opportunity to speak out……we’ve got to do it in a fair and balanced way for both sides. We hope we can impact on what they are proposing. We want to affect the proposal before it goes forward so that we have got a proposal that’s more in line with what people want.’
Save the Ribble Campaign is pleased that some thought is now being given to the process of consultation on the Riverworks proposals and are fully supportive of the view that residents should be given the full facts about all aspects of the Riverworks options, including their potential consequences.
However, we also believe that meaningful consultation on the Riverworks proposals has to be inclusive of all the communities affected by the options under consideration and not just residents of particular areas of Preston and South Ribble. The Central Park building development will have an impact on Walton-le-Dale aswell as Penwortham, and the barrage option will affect all communities along the Ribble corridor, from the Fylde and up to Ribchester and beyond.
There are also very significant environmental concerns which are beyond the scope of a residents consultation and which will require a full environmental impact assessment, and full consultation with concerned environmental groups (such as RSPB, Fisheries and other wildlife groups) before decisions are taken to progress these options any further. Residents views are only part of the issue.
Save the Ribble Campaign believes that residents’ consultation will require the input of other neighbouring authorities. Obtaining a meaningful response from residents will of course also depend on how they are consulted and what questions they are asked. We believe that in these consultation processes it is important that all affected residents are given opportunity to express views on the specific options contained in Riverworks rather than the "vision" as a whole as it is likely that some options may have more support from residents than other options - in particular residents who oppose the idea of a barrage may well be supportive of other ideas such as re-instating the canal.