Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Is anybody listening?

I am confused! When taking control Cllr Woodley commented that the last Conservative Administration stopped listening to the people and that he would deliver a listening democracy in Southend. This was based on the Administration’s decisions, supported by various opposition members, on issues such as care homes and flood defences notwithstand vocal opposition and petitions from members of the public. Now, a supporter of the Administration, Cllr Anne Chalk, has presented a petition with 759 signatures requesting the removal of the taxi rank in Campfield Road, Shoebury. I would have thought that in these new listening times the cabinet would have agreed but the petition was rejected by cabinet and at a recent scrutiny meeting Cllr Chalk’s attempts to refer the matter back to cabinet were out voted notwithstanding the majority that supporters of the Administration enjoy on all committees. So what happened to the listening – or does that only apply when the cabinet agrees with what is being said? Now I have no problem with members taking decisions on the merits and obviously this will on occasions mean rejecting the contrary views of residents, but then I have not just run an election campaign saying the opposite. I suppose it is a question of all petitions being equal but some being more equal than others.

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