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WC's 'Post-it' plans in the age of the Internet

(November 11, 2009)
WILTSHIRE Council set out a blueprint at the Assembly Rooms today to tackle government demands for a plan to take Warminster forward for two decades.
They did not need much room to do it using the anteroom to invite public comment on their 20 year core strategy which took two minutes to view.
Simple short statements accompanied by several Ordnance Survey maps and half a dozen diagrams were arranged around a video player playing a short film about Wiltshire as a whole.
In the first hour just a handful of people (including at least one who has a professional interest) went in during their lunchbreak at 1pm to take part.
The major tool of the consultation was 'post-its' on which residents were invited to write their comments and then stick in the appropriate place on a map or diagram.
"This was definitely not what I expected from a consultation," said co-author Paul Macdonald.
"Post-its! I ask you. This is our new all-singing all-dancing council. A few scraps of paper to take this forward to the next stage!
"It was quite clearly just a 'plain English' presentation of the bare basics of the written document which provides no statistics on which to make informed comment."
The strategy relies on the already existing business and industrial parks and 'regeneration' of the town centre to provide new jobs.
"One of the diagrams (see photo) really brought home to me the impact this would have on one the most important features of the town," said Paul.
The town faces the building of nine hundred new homes off the Frome road out of town according to the display.
"I pointed out that as a councillor in the 1990s the new business parks were a response to the unemployment that had risen to the highest in the county as a result of previous large-scale housing commitments," says Paul.
"We had lost a lot of employment land to housing within the town and we have still not got that back in full.
"We could have the balance right if we can provide a new techonolgy park for employment but to lose our buffer zone to all those homes needs serious scrutiny."
"It will take more than a handful of post-its to get this right."
*Photo shows the huge amount of land in red that will be be put under asphalt and concrete relying on the hatched area to be 'regenerated' to provide the jobs.

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