Planning and other Council decisions

Planning and other council decisions are now being taken by a selected few Chairs of Committees together with Senior Executives of the Council. Reports which state they are the formal position of the Council, often have never ever been before the Council. There is no democracy and Council members are becoming just a 'rubber stamp' for the select few, rather than being presented with comprehensive facts and balanced information so that full discussion can take place in an open and transparent manner.Council members themselves feel they are becoming just a 'rubber stamp' for the actions and decisions of the select few. Additional to the clandestine Council meetings, secret, regular, monthly, meetings are taking place at ward level. At these behind closed doors meetings, decisions concerning millions of pounds of taxpayers monies and Scottish Government Funding are being taken. No one within the Community or local area are consulted. It's a big secret! These decisions and recommendations are a fait accompli, The people./community simply has to live the best it can with the consequences. At a time when every community is suffering and tensions are running high, it is absolutely imperative that every resident/community feels there is open and transparent government. The current COVID regulations may have been drawn up with the best of intentions, but they are being seriously abused, to the detriment of residents /communities, tourism, local employment, environment, infrastructure and so on. In order to ensure that local communities get the opportunity to be involved in the decisions which affect them, as specifically stated in the Community Empowerment Act, all locality business issues should be discussed and decisions taken at Local Area Committees where the public has the opportunity to shape/influence their local place, its needs, and priorities. This cannot be achieved via secret, behind closed doors meetings as is happening in our area. No published dates of the secret meetings, no agenda, no papers and no minutes. The people only get to find out after the decisions are made and it is causing serious discontent, anger and frustration. Local communities feel helpless and any attempt to highlight this abuse of power is met with total disregard. If the Scottish Government truly wants local communities to be part of the decision making progress, to help ensure communities survive this COVID pandemic, then the best thing to do would be to allow the community, as an equal partner to the ward councillors, to decide what is best for their local area. After all its their town/area. No one knows it better than the locals. The legislation is already there. Most Councils have Local Area Committees, but very few, and certainly not my council, have met the Scottish Government's objective of community empowerment through local decision making.

Why the contribution is important

Open and transparent local government is critical at this time. We cannot allow the interests, personal agenda, and favouritism of a few, impact so drastically on the many. Our community has seen an enormous outpouring of support for those who are disadvantaged or who, through no fault of their own, have lost jobs, homes etc. Likewise the voluntary support to help all those shielding and in need of assistance has been awe inspiring. However, decisions regarding the business of running the town, taken in secret by a very few, have chipped away and, in some cases, have all but destroyed peoples' willingness to help out because money is being squandered on personal pet projects and on those individuals and groups one might call 'close to the select few'. We need more open and transparent local decision making now. This will help bond communities together at a time when it is most needed. This pandemic and its repercussions are not going to be solved in 1-2 years., more like 5-10 years if we are lucky.

by Loreineatnairn on October 09, 2020 at 09:50PM

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