Published Thursday 20 April 2017

A number of consultations that were due to be undertaken by the Royal Borough in the coming weeks will now be put on hold due to pre-election restrictions.

There are strict guidelines on what publicity councils can undertake in the weeks running up to any election to ensure that no political bias is perceived in official publicity. This includes undertaking new consultations and producing content on items that are politically controversial.

Once the polls have closed on Thursday 8 June the restrictions are lifted.

For the Royal Borough this means the Borough Local Plan regulation 19 consultation, all neighbourhood plans at the consultation stage with the council and a planned consultation on an expansion to the library service will be put on hold until 9 June 2017.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “Residents’ views are a vital part of the way we shape our decisions and we want to make sure that we are in a position to encourage as many people as possible to engage with us.

“During this pre-election period, the limitations on what forms of publicity we can run would stop us from being able to properly reach out to people and be able to listen to what our residents have to say.

“We want residents to be engaged during public consultations, not distracted by the General Election.

“It is vital the emerging Borough Local Plan, neighbourhood plans and library consultation get the full resident interaction they deserve and once the election has completed I look forward to hearing what people have to say.”

The guidelines set out in the Local Government Act 1986 warn councils and government departments against hosting new consultations during the pre-election period, known as ‘purdah’.

This is done to protect councils from being perceived as offering public support for any political party.

For the upcoming General Election the pre-election period formally begins on Saturday 22 April and ends after polling day on Thursday 8 June.