CONSERVATIVES DELIVER WIN FOR CITY DEMOCRACY AS KEY MEETING IS RESTORED TO 10 MEMBERS WITH PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
- Key meeting on Active Travel restored to a full complement of 10 Councillors with public involvement following intervention from Conservatives.
- Conservative Group’s request for an Extraordinary Council Meeting has now been withdrawn, following the Greens’ U-turn.
- Focus now turns to how parties will vote on 11 Active Travel recommendations on Wednesday 21st July.
The Conservative Group has welcomed a Council U-turn on arrangements for a Special Committee meeting next week as a vital win for democracy in the city.
The U-turn, which followed yesterday’s intervention of the Conservative Group on the matter, will mean that Wednesday’s Special Committee Meeting on Active Travel Arrangements in the City will be restored to a full complement of 10 Councillors with public involvement.
The Agenda for this special meeting has now been published and it contains 11 recommendations for Active Travel measures across the City. A limited number of members of the public will be able to attend the public gallery and residents have until 12 noon tomorrow (15 July) to submit written questions and deputations as part of the Public Involvement.
As a result of the Council U-Turn, the Conservative Group has this afternoon withdrawn its request for an Extraordinary Council Meeting.
The Conservative Group Leader Steve Bell said that it was an important moment for democracy in the city.
“We welcome this U-turn form the Council and have this afternoon withdrawn our request for an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council” Cllr Bell said.
“It is sad that we were forced to call an Emergency Meeting of Council to see democracy in our City.
“It always amazes me that the parties which are always complaining about transparency in Central Government are the parties which always try to make decisions behind closed doors which exclude the residents.
“During the course of this Administration we have seen a pattern of democracy being curtailed by the Green/Labour Council. Last year we saw the Council failing to allow residents to have their petitions and deputations heard at Council meetings. We felt strongly as a Conservative Group that it was time to make a stand.
“It was undemocratic for the Administration to try to use Reduced Capacity arrangements - just days before they were set to expire - to convene a Special Meeting to decide the most controversial policy matters in the City of the past year, namely Active Travel and Cycle Lanes.
“I am pleased that the Greens Administration has reversed the decision and will now hold the meeting with a full complement of 10 members, rather than just 3, which will allow full scrutiny and debate.
“Sadly, my belief will be that the residents’ views will not be listened to and the Green/Labour coalition will still put their ideology before the residents of the City” Cllr Bell added.
Conservative Transport Spokesman Robert Nemeth said that the focus could now turn to next Wednesday’s Special meeting on Active Travel and he called for a high level of scrutiny from residents and community groups in the City.
“We welcome the Greens’ U-turn on the fundamental democratic principles of how key decisions are taken that affect all of us in the city” Cllr Nemeth said.
“I am particularly pleased that the Conservatives have delivered this win for members of the public, a limited number of which will be able to attend in the public galley.
“The focus can now turn to the meeting on Wednesday and the 11 recommendations of the Active Travel report. Members of the Committee and members of the public must now scrutinise these recommendations closely. Members of the public have until tomorrow (12pm) to submit written questions and Deputations.
“There will be a particular onus on Labour members of the Committee to finally have the courage to deliver on their words to their constituents - and finally at the fifth time of asking, vote with the Conservatives to remove the Old Shoreham Road Cycle Lane in its entirety. If they again vote with the Greens or decide to abstain on these key measures, voters will not forgive them. Residents will be watching closely.
“This has been one of the least democratic councils in living memory, driven by a Coalition agreement between Labour and the Greens that they still will not publicly release.
“Let’s hope this win for democracy marks a turning point for this Council and a return to listening to residents and voting accordingly” Cllr Nemeth added.