Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A recipe for good decision making?

Ingredients: take one meeting, make it too long for any member of the public to want to sit through, then stir with a sprinkling of preventing the public from speaking. Cook for at least 3 hours.

Should readers wonder where we are coming from, we've been contacted over the weekend by a clearly disgruntled attendee of last Wednesday's Greenwich Area Planning and Environment Committee meeting.

From what we've been told it seems the agenda was heavily loaded meaning the meeting didn't finish until after 10pm. This may not seem late to some, but given it started at 6.30pm we think it might actually be longer than a lot of the full Council meetings (assuming they don't get abruptly ended by own puppet Mayor.

At the meeting there were nine items for debate; the first 5 apparently took over 3 hours, and the final four took about 20 minutes - this was due to everyone deciding they wanted to go home and catch Newsnight.

As with any planning type meeting, the public often attend and part of their local democratic rights mean they are entitled to speak as well on matters of concern to them on the agenda. Sadly we've learnt that this right was overlooked completely as the meeting went on.

Apparently, a decision was taken by the committee and the chair of the Planning Board, Cllr Alex Grant simply moved on ignoring the someone who had been patiently sitting for three hours waiting to speak.

This local resident protested, and the Chair allowed them to speak. However he also made clear that the decision had already been taken anyway so their words would have no bearing on the matter.

We wonder whether it would make more sense to have more frequent, but shorter meetings, so that the public don't have to sit for three hours only to be denied their rights by the Chair of Planning?

This would mean a little more work for Cllr Grant but as his members' interest entry shows he's doesn't have a job so it's not like he doesn't have the time to actually earn his £27,701



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the due process hasn't been followed, will the decision by the council be lawful?

9:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No it'll most probably be completely illegal but why should that stop them?

I shit upon the name of greenwich council.

10:24 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

New Labour = a stuff-the-plebs, conscience-free zone.

1:26 pm  
Anonymous stevemilligan said...

I wonder what role the Hon. Member for Eltham had in all this? Cllr Grant is just one of his skivvies at the end of the day, as we all know now.

1:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem is, we take far too much crap in this country. What chance have we got of doing anything when we just bend over and let the powers that be do what they like. I mean, if we cant do anything about a council acting illegally, what chance have we got of doing anything about the illegal actions of our government?

Petitions dont work, protests dont work (thats after you've actually gained your permission to protest). I cant help but feel that if this was france (or pretty much any other country), there would be a host of angry people going down the town hall and physically ejecting these cretinous and corrupt power-whores from their comfy positions.

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greenwich is not the only place with this problem. Lewisham's planning committee meeting went on unitl 11:30pm last night, from a 7.30pm start. The last item discussed was a major application regarding the rebuilding of a large secondary school. One councillor questioned whether it was a good idea to make such a major decision when it was so late (a member talking sense, must be one for the record books!). The chair said he was confident the report was thorough and was happy to skip through it quickly. Why bother having committee meetings at all? Just let council officers push through their own schemes!

5:07 pm  

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