Local Plan emails went missing claims Councillor


Graham Hunter

A Botley parish councillor is concerned that council emails may have gone astray and has called for an extension to deadline for comments on the Draft Local plan.

The council is consulting on its future strategy for Housing and employment which is set to last the Borough until 2029 and the latest round of the public consultation is due to close at midday this Friday July 13.

During the first consultation phase, which ran from October 2011 to January 2012,  every house in the borough received a mailshot inviting householders to participate. This time only those who had signed up for a newsletter or those who were one of the 1,200 previous respondents were directly contacted.

Councillor Graham Hunter says he knew emails were sent out on May 31 but –  and despite checking his spam filter – he never received one.

He was then alarmed to discover that neither had some of his colleagues or neighbours.

Although Cllr Hunter has no doubt the council had sent the email he told Eastleigh News that he feared a council or ISP server problem may have prevented the delivery of a batch of emails.

He told Eastleigh’s Chief Planning Officer of his concerns and understood there would be a council investigation.

The councillor, who has an IT background having previously worked for an major IT company, explained how it was possible for email delivery failure to occur without generating a ‘bounce back’ message which would normally notify a sender of delivery problems.

Cllr Hunter said he believed that as an unknown of emails may have been affected and that the council should consider re-sending the mails and extending the response deadline by a couple of weeks, however a council spokesman has confirmed to Eastleigh News that an investigation had been carried out which had shown that:

“The details of the Councillors concerned were on our database and  an email notifying them of the consultation was definitely sent on 31 May 2012. The email did not ‘bounce back’ to us and our evidence is that it was therefore delivered successfully. We have no reason to think that our database or notification procedure has failed in this instance and the Council will not be extending the current consultation period which ends at lunchtime on Friday 13 July.”

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