Let people have a say
10:44am Thursday 19th July 2012 in Letters
THE Vale Cabinet's pledge to make its decision-making process "more transparent and inclusive" by holding regular meetings outside Barry where the public can ask questions is a welcome initiative.
This is precisely the kind of move for which FocusBARRY has been pressing and which helped three independent candidates to become borough councillors at the May 2012 local elections. Three other issues which have seen U-turns completed recently are the re-examination of the Local Development Plan, plans for Cemetery Approach to become a community facility and eight-hour opening restored for Barry Hospital. Each of these have been central to public campaigns by FocusBARRY.
Let us hope that the Vale Cabinet going 'out and about' is not just a box-ticking exercise. If they really mean to be more transparent and inclusive then they should extend the policy to the planning process. When there was a public outcry backing a 11,300-signature petition opposing housing development at Cemetery Approach, a Save Cemetery Approach Action Group spokesman was denied permission to address the planning committee even though more than 100 concerned local people packed into the committee room.
Now, Cabinet members, if you really mean to make a new start by being more open and transparent why not allow one person to speak for, say two or three minutes, when contentious issues come before the planning committee. Fourteen other councils in Wales allow this small concession to democracy. Why not the Vale? Then we'd really know you were serious and not just embarked on a window-dressing expedition.
Derek Hooper FocusBARRY supporter Radnor Freen Barry