It is now becoming apparent that many residents within Dumfries & Galloway who are potentially affected by this proposal are beginning to think deeply about how to respond and the same is true for a number of Community Councils who only meet every 4-6 weeks.
At the consultation SPEN held yesterday in Dunscore Village Hall it became clear that SPEN themselves are becoming aware, not only of the strength of feeling against their proposal but also that their timescale for people to respond is unrealistic, particularly as we are in the middle of the holiday season. I came away with the clear impression that if they receive sufficient representation over the next few days they will extend the deadline for submissions.
So I would like to encourage everyone who is presently feeling under pressure, to contact SPEN using the letter below as a template (please modify as you think fit to suit your own style and circumstances). You can copy and paste the template and either e-mail it directly to SPEN at firstname.lastname@example.org or print it off and post to Freepost SPEN DGSR.
I initially suggested asking for a 4-week delay but at the Auldgirth CC last night a period of 12 weeks was suggested. However, having now read up on the case-history associated with the Aarhus Convention (p.26, Clause E, paragraph 77, sub-section (e) and (f) through to p.27) I’m now of the mind that 6 weeks would be reasonable and that 12 weeks could be construed as unreasonable. You will find the link to this reference document below. Just copy and paste into your web browser. Makes very interesting reading as these two pages refer to our situation.
So, having taken this advice I have changed the time from 4 to 6 weeks but if anyone wants to increase it to 12 weeks because of their particular circumstances then please feel free to do so. For example, Community Council’s typically meet every 6 weeks and as Dunscore, Auldgirth and Kirkmahoe CCs met for the first time to discuss this proposal this week it will be a further 6 weeks before they meet again to pass a resolution, so 6 weeks in this case may be too short.
Here is the basis of what I propose:
Dumfries & Galloway Strategic Reinforcement Project
I wish to inform you that I believe your deadline for responding by the 24 July 2015 is too short.
Bearing in mind we are now in the holiday season and many people are either just returning from holiday, on holiday or preparing to go on holiday the deadline you have set does not allow sufficient time for us to prepare our thoughts and participate effectively in this most important of decision making processes.
I would urgently ask you, therefore, to consider extending your deadline by at least 6 weeks to give me, my neighbours and the broader community in which I live the necessary time to consider how best to respond to your proposals.