THE lack of consultation for the first round of the battle between the Labour-controlled Bury Council and residents for our borough’s beloved greenbelt was breathtaking.

The process was contrary to Bury Council’s own guidelines.

Its Statement of Community Involvement is:

“How will the council involve you?

“The following table lists some of the activities and methods the council will consider using when undertaking consultation exercises in connection with the local plan. The methods used will be tailored to suit the scale and nature of impact of the decisions to be made and the particular needs of people being consulted.”

This is the biggest development plan the county has known.

“Material made available on the Council’s web site, in Council offices at Knowsley Place Reception, Town Hall Reception and selected local libraries (see our Statement of Community Involvement web page on for a list).” The allocations maps and text were not available on the council website. There were no displays, posters or leaflets in any council reception in the borough; the council office in Knowsley Place had nothing, and directed callers to a 15-minute queue at the town hall reception.

At the time of the unitary development plan there were permanent displays in at least three town centre locations.

“Send letters and emails to database contacts, including targeted consultation letters for key community groups. The council may consider more targeted consultation where residents may be more directly affected by proposals.”

I received nothing from the council despite my involvement in local planning over 30 years.

“Advertise via social media on Facebook & Twitter.”

Not done. I’m heavily involved on Facebook and saw nothing from Bury or GMCA on this matter, although the GMCA posted on anything but the greenbelt grab.

“Where possible, place articles in: Local newspapers; ‘Planzine’ - the department’s e-newsletter sent to a database of contacts and using other online news sources as appropriate.

“Use posters on notice boards in prominent locations including town centres, civic suites, markets, leisure centres and public open spaces.”

Not done. Everywhere was checked. The council did nothing in this regard. The Bury librarian was asked where the poster was on GMSF.

He said there was none, but that the GMSF stuff was in a box behind him. There are a number of advertising boards in the shopping areas of our borough and none were used by the council to advertise the grab.

So chief executive and the council leader, Rishi Shori, will the forthcoming consultation be another sham, or are you actually going to ask people what they think?

Dave Bentley