Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Casino shortlisting process to be legally contested?

It's just been brought to our attention via email that the entire Casino Advisory Panel could be thrown into disarray by another issue outside the one that's all over the national media. Apparently, Havering Council, who originally applied for the license and didn't make the shortlist made representations to the CAP contesting the fairness of the process in July.

In a statement on their website in July they said that if they were not put on the shortlist they "would be obliged to consider what further course of action may be available to ensure fair consideration of our proposals". We're not aware whether any legal papers have been served yet to contest the shortlisting process, but it's all starting to look very bad for Greenwich.

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Anonymous andrew said...

Shouldn't we therefore make it look even worse for Greenwich by serving a petition on the Council to force them to explain why they really want to do this?

One would have thought that a suitably-worded petition, accompanied by a few hundred or thousand signatures of disgruntled Greenwich residents saying they don't want the casino might achieve something?

1:04 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

andrew (12:04pm), Shouldn't we therefore ... One would have thought

Well volunteered, that man. :-)

2:55 pm  
Blogger said...

We suggest you contact the Pennisula councillors about it. Chris Roberts, Mary Mills and Dick Quibell. We suggest the first two rather than the latter in case he quibbles over the detail.

Bet he hasn't heard that one before.

3:09 pm  
Anonymous Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch) said...

Does the casino have any local support?

3:40 pm  
Blogger said...

Difficult to say Martin. There has been little local consultation with the masses as such. As we mentioned the other day, the subject only managed to get to the Council chamber in the last few months, and that was a motion that was carried with cross-party support.

If you mean ordinary people, the only letters we can recall in the local papers have been negative. The Council certainly can't say it was mandated in May given that the Council didn't discuss it until after the elections. You may want to have a search on the local press websites linked on the right.

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading Greewich's submission for tender for the casino - I see section 4.2 mentions a local opinion survey. I live locally - I have not heard of such a survey being carried out (March 2006) - Does anyone know of anyone who was involved in a survey? - Apparently 501 people responded and only 10% opposed - can’t be right unless the survey was done in the Ladbrokes next to the ‘new heart of East Greenwich’ – Oh that’s where the pole dancing club is apparently going to be sited….

12:29 am  
Anonymous andrew said...

Hi anonymous.

I'm going to talk to one of my councillors shortly about the failure to consult properly and how the Greenwich submission lies about this.

Newsnight last night ran a piece on the EIP, concluding that it's all rather a done deal for Greenwich... none of the protesting public members showed up yesterday! :-(

And we don't love the casino in East Greenwich, I can assure you!

9:11 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

Andrew, for what it's worth.

In my view, the opposition was kept out of the loop on purpose. Any would-be "protesting public" did not know the EiP was happening until far too late to apply to take part or even to attend as observers. The CAP put a notice in the Evening Standard (Kate Rounce told me this). When I telephoned Kate Rouce and pointed out that, had CAP really wanted to reach everyone they should have also put a notice in newspapers that are delivered free to every household in the Borough - viz, The Mercury, The News Shopper, and Greenwich Council's own newspaper - Kate replied "there wasn't time". (The Mercury and The News Shopper are also sold in newsagents and on local railway stations at peak commuter hours.) CAP should also have arranged for announcements to be made on local radio. I don't think that the BBC made any announcement, either, alerting people to the EiP and the deadline by which they should submit their views.

My point is: if the CAP failed to use even local newspapers and radio (ie normal channels, eg for publishing notices about planning applications) to reach the people of Greenwich - which they say that they did not because there was not enough time to do so before the deadline for submission of views (10 August) - then when Professor Crowe told Radio 4 "Today" yesterday that CAP had invited members of the public to send in their views, he was - wittingly or not - misleading the "Today" audience.

I also have strong doubts about the poll of 500 local people that, apparently, was taken in March 2006. Unless a professional and independent organisation did this, and we can see the questions asked and the profile of the respondents (not their names, obviously, but whether they were black, white, asian, old, young, employed or not, retired or disabled or whatever), I won't believe that this poll actually exists. If AEG can fabricate the Chaplaincy statement (which they admit did), they could fabricate a poll.

Public consultation takes time, obviously, and one has to schedule enough time for it. Otherwise, it isn't public consultation.

11:41 am  
Anonymous Paul Webbewood said...

I agree that the CAP should have done more to publicise the Examination in Public locally. According to its website
it received 22 representations opposing the casino in Greenwich and 18 expressing support for it.

I asked the chairman why the hearing was being held in Central London and not in the Borough. He "took my point" but said that the venue had been chosen as a central point at a time when there had been two London bids - from the Dome and Wembley.

3:23 pm  
Anonymous andrew said...

Mary Mills maintains a list of 'the usual suspects' - people who like to be told about things that are going on. She didn't include either the poll or the EIP in her weekly e-mail, presumably because she wasn't told about them. A huge oversight.

4:37 pm  
Anonymous andrew said...

"According to its website
it received 22 representations opposing the casino in Greenwich and 18 expressing support for it."

Yep. My personal view on this is that Stephen Crow should make obtaining _proper_ _meaningful_ public validation should be made a mandatory condition of Greenwich's further consideration. 40 points of view (and most of those 18 were from professional organisations, not people) out of a Borough of some 225,000 residents is nowhere near a proper consultation.

4:57 pm  

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