Saturday, 16 February 2008

The system 3 Residents 0

On Thursday we went along to our local residents’ community forum. This is usually attended by a mix of our local councillors and concerned residents. Agenda includes police report, planning issues, education and young people and health issues. Yesterday the Tories had a table of their own with three councillors present sat in a line. Lib Dem councillor sat at the back and gave apologies for other members. Labour bloke asked me to give his apology.
The planning issues part of the agenda thru up some alarming news if what was claimed is true. It is claimed that two significant building projects in our ward do not meet with the approved plans. Residents have complained about the adverse effect these changes are having on their lives. The Tories insisted that nothing could be done despite my wife pointing out that private residents dare not stray from a plan. We were told the planners are not responsible to anyone.
A concern from a resident that a newsagent and off license is to opened in an area that it is alleged is a hot spot for underage consumption of alcohol. It was claimed that no planning permission had been given and no advisory notices published locally. We were told that this had been approved under what are termed discretionary powers and as it was only a change of use no planning permission was required. “ Get up a petition is what you need to do” One councillor claimed he could not help because he is on the planning committee another because she was on licensing committee and another said he would receive the petition but no guidance on the best way to go about it to ensure success.
The real body blow though was from the man from our PCT who advised us that they were not going to replace the doctor who had closed his branch surgery. This was despite reassurances in the past that he would be replaced. My wife had done some research into the project timings for a clinic which as also been promised for our ward. She identified that despite having written confirmation on the start date the project had slipped by two years. Yes I know said the man it’s all in the plan. When will we be getting our clinic I said? It is now alleged that a date as yet to be fixed. 2011? 2012? Sometime never?
The real tragedy here though is that not one of our councillors challenged this slippage or indeed showed any interest in the position with our clinic.
Remind me again! Why do we need councillors?

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