We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Kay Smith. Ed
On Wednesday night I attended the Full Council Meeting at County Hall (see OnTheWight’s live coverage here. Ed).
On a very good note, a motion was passed to tighten up the planning process to make it more robust regarding the issue of fracking on the Isle of Wight. But most importantly to stop the erosion of democracy even more by allowing this Government to railroad through local decision making.
Did you councillor leave early?
However, I was astounded by those elected councillors that decided to leave the meeting before its scheduled end. How can this be OK? If any of these people are your councillors does this not concern you?
It is important to point out that Cllrs Hillard, Lumley, Stubbings, Bacon, all made their feeling known that this is unacceptable and leaving meetings should be public knowledge and I believe Cllr Baker-Smith made a good comment about reading given information before attending a meeting, so that you can be informed about what you are discussing during it. Not an exhaustive list of shared concerns I am sure, but the vocal ones I observed.
The email (below) has now gone to Cllrs Richard Priest, Julie Jones-Evans, Bob Blezzard, Chris Whitehouse, Jon Gilbey and Wayne Whittle. Cllr Richards could have stayed on this occasion, but declared an interest. I await the responses.
Last night I attended the Full Council meeting and watched from the public gallery. There are some really grave issues for the council to be tackling as you all know and issues that concern ALL of the residents living on our Island.
As someone who values democracy greatly I would hope that you do too. But last night I was astounded that elected representatives for people on this Island thought it was ‘OK’ to leave a meeting before its scheduled end (6pm-9pm).
The majority of you left at 8.45pm and before the fracking motion was discussed.
Cllrs Whitehouse and Whittle had left even before that. Not only did you miss an important discussion, an opportunity to see what others had to say, be educated on an issue that maybe some of you are not fully aware of – but most importantly you missed the vote.
As far as I am aware none of you gave apologies prior to the start of the meeting and I didn’t see any nods of apologies as you left the chambers. Despite the fact that I personally have grave concerns about fracking, as do many people on the Island, a real issue here was the ability of central government to railroad through the planning process of this Council. Do you not think this is also another democratic principle that is trying to be eroded by this government? Are you 100% sure that the people that you individually represent think this is a good thing?
Regardless of what is being discussed and unless you declare an interest, I expect you to honour and value the role you have been elected for and stay until the end of the scheduled time. It was agreed by all to extend the timing of the meeting, seeing as though there was so much to discuss, with the council being driven into such a situation financially, I think on this occasion it was probably to be expected that it would run over time.
Any number of things could have been on the Full Council Agenda last night and I would still feel the same. I look forward to a response from each of you as to why you do not share the same democratic principles as me and all the people I know, and hope in future you will take your elected role more seriously and stay to at least the time the meeting was due to end.
Kind Regards, Kay Smith
20th January 2016