Thursday, 29 January 2009

People will not attend politicised area committees, say Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council have condemned as hypocritical attempts by the Labour Council to boost attendance at its Area Committees.

The Labour Council recently announced a poster campaign to encourage people to attend the five Area Committees.

But Liberal Democrats say that Labour’s interference in the committees is what has put people off in the first place, especially their cynical creation of the Greater Eston Area Committee. This just isn’t working.

When they took power in 2007 Labour immediately merged the Ormesby, Normanby and Eston Area Committee with the Grangetown, Teesville and South Bank Area Committee to create the huge “Greater Eston” Committee.

Attendances have slumped. At the December meeting only two members of the public attended.

Last year, only 2% of public questions came from the Ormesby Ward and about the same number from the Normanby Ward.

Labour Councillors continually usurp public questions raising their own concerns that could easily be dealt with through direct contact with Council officials.

Ormesby Lib Dem Councillor Glyn Nightingale (pictured) said:

“There is no rational justification for a local committee covering such a large area and so many people. There is absolutely no need for Labour to be so hung up on controlling every aspect of local affairs. It’s Labour control freakery at its worst. They’ve created an area committee to ensure they have a majority when there are rarely any votes for them to use their majority.

"Local people have shown what they think of Labour’s Greater Eston Area Committee. They are simply not going to them. This culminated in the embarrassing meeting in December last year when only two people were there for the meeting.

“The Area Committee is there for the public - not for Labour councillors to pursue their own agenda.”

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