Council will shape Brentwood’s future based on views of just 14 residents

Brentwood Town Hall

Brentwood Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The views of just 14 residents will shape the future of the borough, say opposition councillors.

Brentwood Council consulted about its Corporate Plan, which sets out its priorities for the next three years, but had a disappointing public response.

It said it sought opinion online, through newspapers and written consultations, and social media.

Officers also held drop-in sessions but only received 14 responses from people in the borough – just 0.02 per cent of the population.

Cllr Julie Morrissey (Lab, Brentwood South) says her suspicions were raised when she read that the top priority was recycling – contrary to what she has been told by residents.

The plan said: “We know that keeping our borough clean and green is a real priority for local people; which is why we are making it our number one priority for services. Additional street cleaning, more say for residents, and additional recycling opportunities are all being delivered and we will continue to strive to do more in this area.”

Cllr Morrissey put in a member’s question to officers about the number of responses, and was told: “The Corporate Plan consultation received 14 responses from the public and 40 staff attended drop-in sessions.”

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She said: “I find this astounding because it is going to shape the future of the borough and how Brentwood moves forward. It is the council’s building blocks for the next three years.

“When I have spoken to residents, their priorities are potholes, housing, tackling anti-social behaviour and road safety – not making the borough greener.”

Labour group leader, Cllr Mike Le-Surf, said: “It is ridiculous that a council has set its budget on only 14 responses and is using that to lay out what the plans are for 60,000 residents.”

Leader of Brentwood First, Cllr William Lloyd, said: “The corporate plan is what the administration has been working on and it will shape and mould the borough. But for something so important you would think that a concerted effort had been made to consult with people.”

A council spokesman said: “Consultation with residents about the Corporate Plan included that prompted by publicity on our website, coverage in the local media and that from our digital communications, including Twitter, and the use of our email footers.

“Councillors decided the Corporate Plan and used their experience with casework and their work in committees to determine what meets the needs of residents.”