LDP public meetings

First published in Letters

I WRITE in response to the "Vale leader is criticised over the LDP public meetings no show" article that appeared in the Penarth Times (February 27).

In that article the leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Councillor Neil Moore is quoted as stating “Sully councillors could have addressed the Economy and Environment Scrutiny meeting with questions about the LDP but chose not to”.

I consider that I need to refresh Cllr Moore’s memory on this subject, and I have listed below the facts of the matter.

• On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, I raised a 'matter for consideration' to the 'economy and environment scrutiny committee' on the subject of a permanent travellers’ site in the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as the illegal travellers' site at Hayes Road, Sully. However despite representation being made to the committee by myself, Councillor Kevin Mahoney, Councillor Chris Tatt (Sully and Lavernock Community Council), and Richard Jones (Director of Beechwood College for Autistic Spectrum Disorder), the matter for recommendation to cabinet, was rejected, by vote, by the scrutiny committee.

• On December 5, 2012, I raised the same subject matter by question to the cabinet member- Lis Burnett at full council meeting, with a similar rejection.

• On September 30, 2013, at an elected member's briefing on the proposed new LDP, myself and Cllr Mahoney questioned the proposal of a permanent gypsy and travellers’ site at Hayes Road, Sully, with Rob Thomas the Director of Development Services.

• On October 3, 2013, at the planning committee to discuss the proposed LDP, myself and Cllr Mahoney again questioned the proposal in the LDP for a permanent gypsy and travellers’ site in Sully, with a similar rejection.

• On October 23, 2013, at the full council meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed LDP, I again questioned the cabinet member- Lis Burnett on the proposal for a permanent gypsy and travellers’ site in Sully, only to be told by the Mayor that members’ questions were not allowed at the meeting, albeit the Leader and the cabinet member were allowed to speak supporting the proposal.

Accordingly, taking Cllr Moore’s statement of not knowing why Cllr Mahoney and I did not bring up the matter at the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee meeting on October 8, 2013, which incidentally is chaired by Cllr Neil Moore’s wife Cllr Anne Moore.

The simple truth was that having previously been rejected on this subject matter by this scrutiny meeting on October 9, 2012, we considered that there was no benefit in placing the matter again before this committee, where the administration Labour party held the majority and would obviously back the Labour cabinet proposal for the proposed LDP, albeit no whip was declared.

As a footnote, I would add that I endorse the comments of David Roberts (the clerk to Sully and Lavernock Community Council) in criticising the leader and the cabinet members for not attending public meetings in Sully which started with a public meeting on April 19, 2013, some six months before the publication of the revised LDP in October 2013, and I consider Cllr Moore’s statement “that if we went to one, we would have to go to all other meetings called outside the official LDP process”, to be a very weak excuse, and one that goes against the principles of democracy, and shows no respect or regard to the residents of Sully .

Councillor Bob Penrose

Independent – Elected Member for Sully and Lavernock

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