Tuesday, 20 January 2009

THANET COUNCIL PUTS JOURNALISTS BEFORE COUNCILLORS?

One of the most common refrains I hear from Cllr Sandy Ezekiel, Leader of Thanet Council and his Deputy Cllr Roger Latchford is that they want to work together with all councillors, and if only Labour councillors would agree that they are right on pretty much everything then the world would be a far better place.

Since being elected to the Council in May 2007 the state of Coleman Crescent Recreation Area in my ward Northwood has been a major problem . Last March I went to a meeting with Council Officers about the future of the Rec. I was briefed with my fellow ward councillor Liz Green about potential plans for a community centre, housing and a MUGA (Multi Use Games Area). We both wanted to consult local residents on what they wanted for the Rec. It was agreed to consult local people. At a meeting with local residents in November they all complained about how the Council was neglecting the Rec. Whitehall Residents started a petition.

Local journalists can make a real difference. This story appeared. The Council responded to Your Thanet. Your Thanet called me for a comment. They had heard that the Council was promising a consultation, would I like to comment? I knew nothing. I am pretty sure a Cabinet member would have authorised this response to the newspaper as it was a press matter, as would a senior officer.

Common courtesy says that as this affects only 1 ward that the 3 ward councillors should be notified of what is proposed in their ward. I had the Council’s response read out to me and it sounded promising, a consultation soon. I welcomed this and was told the Council would be sending a further response.

I will be picking up a copy of Your Thanet on Wednesday morning to find out exactly what the Council plans to do on the Rec. Wouldn’t a copied email have been quicker, simpler and politer?

To summarise:

Almost 1 year to set up a pretty simple consultation exercise, why?

Local councillors consistently excluded from this process, and kept in the dark about what is going to happen in their ward.

Local residents experiencing anti-social behaviour throughout this delay, and kept in the dark too.

The Council taking action only when the matter is raised in the press.

I am disappointed with the performance of Cllrs. Ezekiel and Latchford.

Actions speak louder than words.

1 comment:

  1. Cllrs. Ezekiel and Latchford definition of a dialogue is a"Monologue"
    Cliffsend Resident

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