Published: 13/03/2018 11:49 - Updated: 13/03/2018 12:03

Consultation exercises need to show all the info

A96 exhibitionI recently attended the drop-in session held at Forres Town Hall to publicise the latest route options for the A96 Dualling from Hardmuir to Fochabers, where members of the public were asked to provide feedback on the relative merits of the various route options.

I was extremely disappointed to find that the consultants had, once again, failed to provide any financial information to accompany the lines on the map.

I have complained before about this issue to the consultants in connection with the previous section of the A96 Dualling relating to the Nairn By-pass.

The consequence of this glaring omission is that members of the public are being asked to express an opinion on options for which they have only

partial information at their disposal.

This cannot therefore represent an informed opinion and consequently there is a built-in excuse for the consultants to ignore the opinions expressed if they choose to do so.

Why is this financial information, which a representative of the consultants admitted to me did exist, kept secret from the public? This hardly results in a transparent planning process.

The next stage, which will follow later this year, is the selection of a "preferred route" which means that the decision, taken behind closed doors, will be made without revealing the relative costs to the public.

Needless to say, once a preferred route is selected, that decision is unlikely to be overturned by any further feedback, making a mockery of the whole consultation exercise.

Brian Matthews, 3 Balnageith Gardens, Forres, IV36 2HJ

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