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Time for elected members to listen to the people!

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Council’s planning department unfit for purpose, Council set to pay 20 per cent over market value for housing site, sadness and anger as Lymm Hotel closes and council slammed for “backing off” Eddie Stobart planning battle.

These are just some of the news items we have featured in the past week.

Having covered council news stories for nearly four decades, I don’t think I can recall a time when so many articles involving the local council have sparked so much negative publicity for our local authority.

There has also been much criticism over some of the council’s recent investments, during times of austerity, in new ways to attempt to balance the books and generate new income streams.

At the same time council leader Russ Bowden is taking to the road engaging with the local communities, showing a willingness to listen to the people.

This kind of engagement should be applauded – but unfortunately the vast majority of people believe the council isn’t listening.

With elections looming next year it is more important than ever that our elected members listen to the people who vote them in, because with the onset of social media we are now living in very different times.

Look how the Brexit Party shot to power in the European Elections almost overnight.

Those who want to get elected these days don’t need an army of foot soldiers out walking the streets pressing the flesh and delivering leaflets.

They can have a strong voice sat at home in their back bedroom with a keyboard and some willing supporters.

If Warrington Borough Council’s elected members don’t start listening to the people, there could be some big changes coming along in the location elections next May.

It could make for some interesting reporting!

 

Council’s planning department “unfit for purpose”

 

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

3 Comments

  1. They are getting to big for their boots and need to be reminded that they are there by the behest of the people and all that can change. This council needs to be looked at very carefully, officers and councillors alike.

  2. Gary, it’s good to see a newspaper taking a stand like this.

    The consultation process on the local plan ended recently, Russ Bowden mentioned 3,500 responses when he came to Fearnhead – that’s a hefty number of responses, let’s hope that it’s treated as a genuine consultation rather than a cynical sham exercise.

    I asked Councillor Bowden whether the councillors would have a free vote in October when the local plan comes back to council, or whether the Labour councillors would be whipped. He refused to answer the question – twice. I can only assume they’ll be told which way to vote, as they were in March.

    Perhaps most worryingly, two Labour councillors told me after the March vote that they had been promised a free vote in October.

    Which is it, Russ? Will the people we elected to represent us be allowed to vote according to their consciences in October? It’s a reasonable question.

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