Mill Road bridge survey open to abuse, say traders
Concerns have been raised that a survey on whether to reopen Mill Road bridge to traffic could easily be distorted.
Mill Road Traders, who have been campaigning to have the bridge reopened to cars and lorries and say it has affected their businesses, spotted that the consultation survey can be taken repeatedly by the same person. And they are now demanding that the survey is withdrawn, claiming it is not valid as a representation of local views – while the county council says duplicates will be removed from the conclusions.
Abdul Arain, spokesperson for the Mill Road Traders’ Association, said: “The survey cannot be relied upon because it is completely open to abuse. It fails to identify a person completing it, for example no email address or physical address is requested or verified. The danger of multiple submissions by the same individual is obvious and has been tested with one person submitting 200 times without rejection by the survey system online.
“The Mill Road Traders’ Association has no faith in this survey and has complained about it already as regards its last-minute introduction.
“If the council cannot assure that the survey system is not open to abuse – and therefore posing a danger of a seriously flawed outcome – any decision to keep the bridge closed as it is now, or broadly similar after the six-month trial period, will be based on false feedback and maybe open to challenge in a court.”
The bridge was closed to cars in June in an effort to help pedestrians walk along the street two metres apart to enable social distancing.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “The Mill Road survey is being carried out in line with the standard format of the majority of our ConsultCambs projects, this system was adopted following stakeholder feedback.
“The county council’s research team reviews all responses to consultations and where it is clear an individual has made multiple responses to the survey, duplicate replies are removed from consideration.
“For the sake of transparency, the number of survey replies removed before analysis of feedback is declared in the consultation report. This report along with all consultation feedback will be presented to councillors at the highways and transport committee to assist them when making a decision on the future of the scheme next year.”
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