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Claims of bias over Upton Centre survey

PUBLISHED: 13:25 14 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:25 14 May 2015

The Upton Centre, Claude Road,

The Upton Centre, Claude Road,

Archant

An online consultation on the future of the Upton Centre has been slammed as “awful” by a user of the closed venue.

The survey, which is running on Newham Council’s website until Tuesday, May 26, was one of a number of consultation methods to take place following a discussion at March’s cabinet meeting.

The council has defended the survey as “open and transparent” but Caroline Tomes, who has completed the survey herself, claims it is “loaded” and “biased”. She added: “It’s leading people who don’t know about the centre into making a certain decision.”

The 30-year-old was an occasional user of the centre – attending yoga classes – before its sudden closure in December last year due to boiler issues.

She cited a question asking participants to put five options of how to spend £4million in order of preference as “bad”, adding: “It’s opportunity cost, but there’s no calculation on the figures.

“When the council spent a really big sum of money – £40million of our money on a new stadium for West Ham – we weren’t consulted.”

A council spokeswoman said in response that the authority was “experienced in conducting consultations and designed this open and transparent questionnaire following meetings with the Upton Community Association”.

She added: “The questionnaire, like other consultations, includes comparisons on how council funds could be spent to inform residents about the options available and also allows residents to make additional suggestions.

“The council is facing huge cuts in funding so needs to understand residents’ priorities for these limited funds.”

The consultation can be completed on Newham Council’s website until Tuesday, May 26.

The results will be presented to the cabinet in June, when a recommendation on the centre’s future will be made.


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