Organisers of latest Wild Life survey hit back at critics

An overwhelming majority supported Wild Life 'PHOTO: Eddie Mitchell
An overwhelming majority supported Wild Life 'PHOTO: Eddie Mitchell
  • Organisers hit back at critics who claimed their Wild Life festival survey was ‘seriously flawed’
  • Critics claim those opposed to the festival were met with a flurry of ‘scathing comments’ over social media
  • Survey organisers claim this simply was not the case at all
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ORGANISERS of a survey held over Facebook into the Wild Life festival have hit out this week over claims that their study was ‘seriously flawed’.

As reported in the Herald last week, more than 450 resident showed their support for June’s music festival – which saw some 70,000 people visiting Shoreham Airport – as part of a poll on the New Shoreham by Sea Group over Facebook,

People expressed views, robustly, from both sides of the argument. It just happened to be that there were far more in favour of the event than against it.

Paul Ockenden, survey organiser

That survey was in response to an earlier study by the Shoreham Society, which had been criticised by a number of people for not representing the wider view of the event.

However, other Shoreham residents have since come forward and claimed the poll over Facebook lacked any real validity with one saying it was impossible to take part anonymously and those who did comment any negative views were met with a ‘flurry of comments that were scathingly critical of anyone expressing’ those views.

In concerns raised directly with the Herald, it was felt that because of this such ‘intimidation inevitably skewed the results’.

However, Paul Ockenden, organiser of the New Shoreham by Sea Group’s Wild Life poll, has reacted to the comments claiming they are unfair and added both sides of the argument were represented without any bias.

Responding to a query from the Herald, over the Facebook group, Mr Ockenden wrote: “Actually, it wasn’t really a survey at all – it was a Facebook question, and I had to work within the constraints of that system. I was very careful to make sure that the original set of options was fair and balanced, with no skew towards the pro or anti festival side.

“I agree that it wasn’t anonymous, but by the same token one vote amongst many wasn’t particularly noticeable. And in Facebook voting and commenting are two very different things, so it would have been possible to register a negative vote without attracting attention from (what you consider to be) a hostile audience.

“In fact it wasn’t hostile at all. People expressed views, robustly, from both sides of the argument. It just happened to be that there were far more in favour of the event than against it. As shown by the vote result.”

In the latest study, an overwhelming 93 per cent of the 458 residents who took part in the poll were positive about the inaugural event.

Just ten out of the 458 – two per cent – said they did not want the festival to return, with 23 expressing no preference either way.

This was compared to just under a quarter of the 142 respondents in the Shoreham Society’s survey last month.