There’s a big problem with the Winchester City Council survey which they’ve used to conclude that people locally want step-change growth or to build on Barton Farm.
The problem is that their survey doesn’t include enough people from the city itself. As a consequence, the results are totally misleading.
Even though half the people in the district live in or near Winchester, only 2 of the council’s 7 consultation meetings – the ones in the Guildhall and in Littleton – were in or near Winchester.
As a result, only around 1 in 5 of those they asked to complete their survey came from the Winchester area – a much smaller proportion than they would need for the survey to be representative.
The public meeting held in Winchester and the Lib Dem survey of Winchester residents showed that most people in the town are opposed to ‘step change’. They also don’t favour building on Barton Farm.
Part of the problem has been the Conservatives’ continuing weak management of the consultation process for the ‘Local Development Framework’.
They originally proposed only one meeting in Winchester in a room that would have seated 120 people. Lib Dem and public pressure managed to get a second meeting at Littleton and to get the city meeting moved to a larger room, but it still was too little too late.
The Conservatives should not conclude that Winchester wants a step-change or to build on Barton Farm based on a small unrepresentative sample. It would be completely wrong to decide anything until they give proper weight to the views of residents in the city itself.