Sandwell Council has a poor track record of conducting its public consultations. Too often it relies on politically engaged groups that are in the know, rather than making genuine attempts to engage with local residents. Recent “consultations” over Brandhall Golf Course, the West Bromwich Masterplan, the Black Country Plan, and Hall Green Road have exposed the limitations of its current approach, and an over reliance on online consultations. This needs a change of culture and a genuine attempt at openness and transparency.
Consultation needs to take place with community groups who are both affected by the decisions and who also have knowledge of the local implications - before making final decisions. It would be helpful if the council could approach these consultations with an open mind and draft plans, rather than being based on a pre-determined conclusion.