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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Local comment - Do local voices matter?

In his column Ron Tarry's Hungerford (Newbury Weekly News 9th Sept) he makes the following comment concerning Hungerford Town Council:
"APART from the problems on resignations from the town council, there appears to be a determined bid to undermine the council's authority on planning matters and individuals are setting themselve's up as arbiters on what shall be discussed and who shall be allowed to speak at any meetings. There is a suggestion that the town council has no right to speak on the planning application submitted by the town clerk, even though the council has a statutory right to comment on all applications in the parish, and is entitled to do so even if the application is made by a town councillor, although he/she would have to declare an interest and would not be able to attend the meeting.
The fact that the council has 14 days in which to comment on planning applications makes it difficult to arrange a schedule of meetings to meet the deadline, or to publish an agenda in advance of the meeting, and if individuals attempt to undermine the council by coming up with objections to the minutiae, it is difficult to see how the system can continue. Looking back on my many years on the town council planning committee, it seems that all our comments are now being judged by these self appointed ‘legal buffs’ to be illegal, and I wonder how many developments which have been supported should be demolished if this is the case;
Finally it should be remembered that the district council is the planning authority and the Town council’s comments are just that and do not represent a planning decision or even resolution."

I applaud him for speaking out on this point but feel he could have gone much further. The individuals he refers to, I beleive are known to most of us as they have been making their views known in the local press ever since the Mayoral fiasco. These same people have been equally obstructive toward my own planning issues which in no way affects them as individuals but are using it as a platform to unstable the Town council to their own ends and to intimidate certain individual councillors so as to result in their positions becoming unsustainable. There are certain members within the council who should be strong enough to call these dissenters to face a council hearing and be made to substantiate their accusations - in other words - put up or shut up!

Apologies to regular readers who haven't got a clue what I'm talking about.


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