Tories would let public have say

I RESPOND to the letter ‘Public question time increased’ (News Post Leader, May 24) and hope that I can cover all the points raised by the correspondent.

The writer is correct in the statement regarding the make-up of the ruling administration of Cramlington Town Council, and it is due to these numbers that the residents have suffered over the past year, and will do for the next year also.

But to clarify, Conservative policy is to allow the public every opportunity to speak and ask questions at town council meetings, and create more involvement with the public.

A Conservative run Cramlington Town Council would immediately reintroduce monthly council meetings and public question time, so residents can hold their councillors to account.

Anyone supporting the Liberal Democrat group plan to ban public questions is doing so against the clear and firm policy of Cramlington Conservatives.

I am at a loss as to how the writer can state his knowledge of people being ‘candidates’ for an election that has not yet been called, and because of this no one can be a ‘candidate’.

On the subject of the executive committee, something not normal in a town council, the writer fails to mention that by them creating this body of decision makers they have excluded other councillors – representatives of the people – from the decision-making process. Therefore not only preventing input from the public, but from their representatives also.

The statement regarding only being able to ask questions at full council meetings is incorrect as there were other meetings at the council offices where the public were allowed to speak, and we are also well aware of the ‘discretion’ that can be exercised by the chairman to allow, or not allow public to ask questions.

The ‘increase’ in public question time, following last year’s reduction, does not reflect the quite open public feeling shown of wanting to return to the original monthly meetings.

You really don’t listen, or react appropriately, to what your residents want.

We must have missed the suggested offer to increase the number of the sessions as stated, strange as these outbursts are normally quite noticeable, though I thought the writer would be aware by now that such should be in the form of a proposal or an amendment.

Questions submitted previously have, in the past, not found their way to the chair in a timely fashion, and let’s not even mention the posting box issue.

However, regarding asking questions direct to the council offices, let me recall the last year where e-mail contact led to issues being raised over appropriate distribution of personal details by the council.

Not to mention having to make repeated requests for the same information.

Or the written request made to the council that subsequently took over 70 days to respond to.

I could ask my local councillors, but as they have both chosen to ignore public requests and opinions on council meetings, and vote against what the public want, what would the response be?

Yes, you are one of my councillors, and on first introduction to you last year you made comment regarding some other residents in my area, therefore I find it more palatable to be ignored alongside the rest of the residents of Cramlington than on a personal one-to-one basis, thanks all the same.

So, as you and your party have repeatedly ignored the requests and feelings of the residents, maybe we ‘doth protest not enough’?

M SWINBURN

Eastfield Resident