Very serious issues are emerging with the TfL Oxford Street Consultation which has been subject to a series of blunders including the loss of a number of correctly submitted responses including that of the Marylebone Association and the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum, two of the key stakeholders in the area most affected by the pedestrianisation proposals. We are now therefore confronted with the prospect of receiving all the Oxford Street traffic without even having had our say against it. This cannot be fair.
At least five other stakeholder responses have also been lost, that we know of, and an unknown number of private responses. We argue that in addition to depriving us of our right to respond this will distort the overall figures cited in the Consultation document and that therefore the Consultation in its present form is fundamentally flawed and cannot be relied on. The Marylebone Association has sent the letter below to TfL demanding that the Consultation in be withdrawn to allow these matters to be addressed, if it is possible to do so, which at present is questionable.
Freepost TfL Consultations 16th March 2018
Our ref: MA/OSWConsultation/
Ref: TfL Consultation Oxford Street West
The Marylebone Association and the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum, two of the key stakeholders in the area most affected by the above consultation proposals, have discovered that their responses have neither been listed nor processed. These responses had been submitted by email to the address supplied by TfL, but they were apparently either not received, or lost. This makes a total of 7 stakeholders in a similar position that we are aware of to date:
• Bloomsbury Residents Action Group
• BT Inlink UK
• Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum
• Heart of London Business Alliance
• Marylebone Association
• Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood
• Wheels For Wellbeing
We understand, on further enquiry, a number of the consultation responses were sent to a domain name not owned by TfL and other responses, including our own, have gone missing although sent to the domain name that is owned by TfL. It is therefore likely that other responses from both stakeholders and individuals have not been included and the total numbers of responses lost could be very substantial. Further we would seriously question your ability to guarantee that TfL will ever be able identify all the potential missing responses.
This also means, as well as failing to reflect and analyse the comments of some key stakeholders, that the processing of responses and the figures have now been thrown out by the missing responses both known, and unknown. This uncertainty regarding the total numbers means that the overall percentages shown, particularly in the appendices to the consultation report, can no longer be relied on.
Any public consultation carried out must be seen to be fair and a minimum requirement should be that it is capable of receiving and processing all the responses legitimately sent to it within the time frame specified. This requirement has not been met. In addition, as you will be well aware, one of the four basic principles which this consultation must satisfy is that the product of consultation [i.e. the consultees' responses] must be conscientiously taken into account. If you have "lost" significant responses we fail to see how you can hope to comply with that principle.
The consultation would appear therefore to be fundamentally flawed and should be withdrawn until these issues can be correctly addressed, if indeed they can.