CAMPAIGNERS are concerned that Gloucestershire County Council is ‘hiding’ public comments made on its website about plans for an incinerator at Javelin Park.

Remarks posted on the GCC webpage hosting the planning application have been disappearing from view, according to anti-incinerator group GlosVAIN.

Ian Richens, a member of the group, said a comment he wrote online criticising the proposals vanished within 24 hours.

"I have never seen public comments disappear in this way," said Mr Richens.

"After writing my comments I was able to view them for a day or so and then they vanished.

"It makes it look like they are trying to hide things."

As part of the planning process, GCC has invited the public and other interested parties to take part in a consultation exercise.

Making a ‘public comment’ on the website is one way to respond.

Comments made about other planning applications are displayed but remarks about the incinerator are being replaced with the words ‘comment submitted’ – and the date.

A GCC spokesman said this was due to the number of comments received.

"Due to the sheer volume of comments we are receiving on this application, it is taking some time to ensure they are typed out and uploaded onto the website as most of these comments have been submitted as letters," she said.

"All comments will be published with the meeting papers and the planning committee will take them into consideration when they decide on this application."

Out of 711 public responses on the website, the SNJ was only able to find two which could be seen.

Of all the responses, we understand that only two express support for the project, although these were not the two displayed.

GlosVAIN chairman Sue Oppenheimer said she could not understand why the comments submitted online were not being shown.

"They either have a huge technical problem because they have had so many responses or they are deliberately taking them down," she said.

"I suspect they are not putting them up because the majority of them are against the incinerator.

"If they are doing it deliberately that is completely unacceptable."

GCC hopes to have all the comments online soon.

They can be seen at Shire Hall, call 01452 425652 for an appointment.


SNJ reporter Chris Warne was refused entry to a ‘community forum’ meeting held to discuss the incinerator on Thursday night at Waterwells Business Park, Quedgeley.

Residents remonstrated with the Gloucestershire County Council official who took the decision.

The meeting was open to members of the community forum only.

Sue Oppenheimer, the chairman of GlosVAIN, said: "Community forum meetings are not very open and transparent."

One of those at the meeting emailed the SNJ saying: "Shortly after the beginning and again towards the end of tonight’s meeting, the exclusion was raised and roundly condemned.

"It was noted that the MP was allowed in, though he is not a member of the forum."

A GCC spokesman said: "The community forums have always been private meetings with residents who have elected to take part.

"They are simply an opportunity for people to discuss any issues or ask questions about the project.

"As the local MP Neil Carmichael is entitled to take part in these forums as he represents the people concerned."