Anger at poor ad­ver­tis­ing of pub­lic meet­ing

Egham News - - NEWS - By Matt Strud­wick matt.strud­wick@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE Air­ports Com­mis­sion has re­buffed calls to reschedule a pub­lic meet­ing to dis­cuss Heathrow’s planned ex­pan­sion after peo­ple com­plained it was ‘poorly ad­ver­tised’.

The ticket only sold-out event due to take place as the Her­ald went to press yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) at the Park Inn in Heathrow for ‘lo­cal stake­hold­ers’ to voice their views on the air­port’s pro­pos­als.

The pub­lic dis­cus­sion ses­sion, which was at­tended by Spelthorne Bor­ough Coun­cil leader Cllr Robert Watts, was ad­ver­tised through Twit­ter and cam­paign com­mu­nity groups HACAN and SHE with tick­ets be­ing made avail­able on on­line tick­et­ing site Eventbrite.

But peo­ple who live in Stan­well say it is a ‘na­tional out­rage’ that the event was not prop­erly ad­ver­tised.

“This is a ma­jor pub­lic body that will make a ma­jor rec­om­men­da­tion to the gov­ern­ment which could af­fect us for the rest of our lives,” said Stan­well res­i­dent An­drew McLuskey.

“Worst of all it emerged, after a great deal of en­quiry, that such ad­ver­tis­ing as there had been re­gard­ing tick­ets for the event had been on a web­site I guess no one here had heard about – with no men­tion on the Com­mis­sion’s own web­site. Pre­dictably, when ef­forts were made to track down and book on the ob­scure web­site, all the tick­ets had been sold out.

“In the cir­cum­stances – and if the con­sul­ta­tion and the Com­mis­sion is to re­tain any cred­i­bil­ity at all – the event should have been post­poned un­til ev­ery­one with a le­git­i­mate in­ter­est has been given a fair chance to reg­is­ter.”

Roberto Tam­bini, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Spelthorne Bor­ough Coun­cil, said his feel­ing was it had not been well ad­ver­tised.

“We ob­vi­ously recog­nise the Com­mis­sion needs to hold fo­cused meet­ings to draw views from var­i­ous par­ties,” he said.

“How­ever, it would have been help­ful if keen res­i­dents had been ad­vised early enough to at least have been able to be asked to be present. We know there is a need to get on with the meet­ing, but if they are per­suaded by the views or want to hold another meet­ing, that’s for the com­mis­sion to do.”

A let­ter sent to Mr McLuskey by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, states that he too had ‘not re­ceived any no­ti­fi­ca­tion of this meet­ing, and I agree with you that it has not been well ad­ver­tised’.

An Air­ports Com­mis­sion spokesman said: “Tick­ets have not been pre-al­lo­cated and a wide range of lo­cal res­i­dents have regis­tered to at­tend. The dis­cus­sion ses­sion is only one way for lo­cal res­i­dents to make their views known to the Com­mis­sion and is by its na­ture space limited; the main chan­nel for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the Com­mis­sion is through re­sponses to our con­sul­ta­tion at www. gov. uk/ air­ports- com­mis­sion.”

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