Appendix 2: CI questionnaire question 3
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The questionnaires were completed during the Carpenter Investments exhibition of 26th - 28th June 2008 at West Kirby Concourse.

Design of question 3

The third question posed was "Do you feel that this has been a good opportunity for you to comment on the proposals for the Sail?"
An excerpt from the questionnaire is shown together with the responses made by respondent No. 354:

This question was seriously flawed in being ambiguous, and different respondents replied in different ways. The problem lies with the fourth word "this". Does it mean "this questionnaire", or does it mean "this exhibition"? From the comments written on the forms, it is clear that many respondents took it to mean "this questionnaire". For example, many people ticked "Yes", but then made very negative comments about the consultation, such as
  • "the way it was organised was diabolical, it took me 3 attempts to get anywhere near the literature" (as above)
  • "very congested and plans very confusing and contradictory - There needs to be fuller plans presented in the future" (respondent No. 29)
  • "why was it squashed into a tiny corner where no one could see or read the displays properly" (respondent No. 509)
  • "it is hard to be able to comment much though when there are no hotel designs to be seen as they have not been done yet" (respondent No. 522)
  • "there needs to be a lot more consultation" (respondent No. 504)

This is an important point since three summaries in the public domain have assumed that anyone ticking "Yes" to question 3 is satisfied with the consultation process.

Firstly, the Wirral Globe of 5th November reported Carpenter Investments as saying:
"When asked whether the consultation had been a good opportunity for them to comment, the people of West Kirby delivered a huge vote of confidence in it.

"A compelling majority of 59.3% of them said that it had been a good opportunity, compared to only 22.7% who said it had not, with 18% unsure. This vote of confidence was repeated throughout all groups of opinion, even among those who are not broadly supportive of the scheme. The message on the consultation is clear - people liked it."

Secondly, the minutes of the West Kirby Contact Group meeting of 22.7.08 include
"A significant number of respondents (over 70%) felt that the event was worthwhile in providing local people with an opportunity to air their views."

Thirdly, a Councillor wrote in an email to a local resident (quoting figures from Carpenter Investments):
"over 60% thought that the exhibition provided a satisfactory means of consultation regarding this project"

It seems that all of these summaries were based on the counting of "Yes" responses to question 3, but respondent No. 354 ("the way it was organised was diabolical") should not be judged as being part of a "vote of confidence", or as liking the consultation, or as thinking the consultation was satisfactory. The same goes for the others who ticked "Yes" and made negative comments - some of these are included in a footnote to this page.

In my analysis of the 583 released questionnaires, a total of 53% of respondents made comments about the consultation process. There were 83 forms with positive comments, 22 forms with mixed positive and negative comments, and 205 forms with negative comments about the consultation process. So negative comments outnumber positive comments by a ratio of 2.5 to 1. So rather than approval, the released questionnaires indicate strong dissatisfaction with the consultation process.

It is also a matter of concern with regard to a simple tick box analysis of question3, that the numbers in the summaries in the public domain are all different from each other. They are also different to my analysis of the 583 released questionnaires: "Yes": 58%; "No": 23%; "Not sure": 13%; No box ticked: 6%.


Other negative comments in those ticking "Yes" to question 3 (the numbers indicate the serial number of the respondent)

12: firmly believe it has all been given the ok
34: too small a display space
39: publicity of event has been limited
47: I did not have the opportunity to speak to anyone
60: will anyone actually take any notice

63: the plan as we saw it ...was a trick to deceive us
120: I feel we had been presented with a done deal by the council
143: limited space was unsuitable for considered liason...restricted access to visual aids
144: a model would have helped
161: but we need a model

163: anxious that public comment will not get to the person deciding whether it will go ahead or not if the person we have made our comments to is an interested party
168: I would have liked it to have been advertised better
172: area too small it was crowded
222: why only one scheme put to tender
292: we need more information and more chance to alter what has been decided already

307: would be grateful for further consultation on project
357: the presentation needs to be better and more openly descriptive
363: would like an open meeting for the public to express their views and ask questions
382: wrong location entirely
388: to commit require further consultation

390: it could have had a more accessible layout
424: not impressed with the exhibition in the concourse ...
429: many people filling in comment forms have failed to understand that the images are not what is definitely being proposed
456: more space should have been provided
484: initial consultation forum however needs much further discussion

514: the use of the Hilbre consultation is misleading and unethical
541: needs more consutation to exactly what will be built. Many issues a bit vague today.
545: feel it will go ahead whatever the residents opinion
582: not enough space was allocated