SQUARE: Don’t ignore the public

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I attended the recent meeting of Cramlington Town Council, principally for public question time and the response to the council’s proposal to remove the grassed area of the village square and replace it with paving.

There was, I suspect, a record turnout, it’s just a pity about the way it was handled.

The meeting was conducted in what I felt was a less than democratic manner, with an inordinate amount of time for those in favour of the proposal.

Having seen an artist’s impression of the plan, which I think is absolutely appalling, I believe it is begging for anti-social behaviour, which there is enough of already in that area, and will lead to cycling, skateboarding, more mess, glass, vomit, food waste, rubbish and blood, which appears especially at weekends. 

A petition of over 1,600 names against the proposal was submitted.

I felt there was a general belittling of the petition, which reinforced the view that this council is not taking the opposition seriously enough.

You could tell from the public’s response that they were not appeased, in fact they were very angry.

There was a comment that “people have signed this who don’t live in Cramlington”.

When have addresses ever been compulsory grounds for a petition? Never.

Another response was that “1,000 people are not a true reflection of the populace”.

There is no regulation that I have seen, (I’ve checked extensively online), which says that only people who live in Cramlington can comment.

In the past we had councillors who represented wards in Cramlington who did not live in Cramlington. They voted on Cramlington matters. What difference then?

The town council seems impervious to public opinion and very reluctant to consider the opinion of the general public.

I have a strong feeling that in ignoring these wishes, this unnecessary, costly, and ill conceived idea will come back and bite it.

Norman Dunbar

Cramlington