Is it working, does it achieve what it is supposed to achieve, how successful is it in reality? We'll let you consider those questions...
We know that there are some very decent and committed people involved - but does the committee's policy objectives actually guarantee the communities affected by LCA good representation? We think this current LCA/Newham planning fiasco shows us that the policy of the consultative committee has deep flaws and clearly does not give the communities good representation at all. How otherwise could the consultation become such a mess, with LCACC being left out of the loop itself by Newham on more than one occasion?
What is more we see issues which we have been informed of which appear not to be mentioned in the minutes at all - issues that if they had of been dealt with perhaps may have avoided a discussion regarding a legal challenge regarding the consultation. It's not good enough to have one or two resident representatives saying they feel happy with the consultation and LCA - clearly they perhaps are the estimated 20% that were lucky enough to be told about the application by Newham.
Now, we are certainly not having a knock at the members - but we are questioning the role of the LCACC and its effectiveness.
We think it's time that LCACC looked at how they can actually improve the role of the committee as a whole in consulting with the communities, - but also look at how they can have an influence on things like the consultation radius in any planning application and the areas which LCA claim to have consulted themselves. Even LCA's claimed community relations has failed to reach communities over the 1.5 kilometer radius it seems, and did LCACC spot this? No, of course not.
LCACC has not viewed things in the big picture at all and the current events are proof of that - it has become very focussed on particular parts of the area and on the positive PR of LCA.
We think it is time that the LCACC Chair looked at how perhaps with his guidance LCACC could have avoided seeing this current fiasco, which they didn't even seem to be aware of until a resident complained, - and what steps he can take to make sure it never happens again.
How on earth didn't LCACC realise that whole boroughs of residents which were affected had not been consulted? Well they did - because they asked the Newham Planning Department how far they intended to consult - they got the answer of 'homes south of the A13' and as far as we know didn't seem too worried about it at all.
Now we don't expect LCACC to regulate the planning process - but if they are indeed a 'consultative committee' then you'd expect them to have a little more say in how LCA and Newham consult with residents and boroughs. Otherwise why are they the 'consultative committee'.