Ask those who pay the taxes…

…They may surprise you (and give you some sound advice)

As many of you will know the Borough Council has just announced that it has bought Wolsey Place Shopping Centre.

I am very unhappy about the process which did not involve the public earlier and more in a meaningful form of consultation. I did not support the proposal and consider that there should have been engagement with the public before a decision was made. Far too many big decisions have been made by the Council in private. Of course there are commercial sensitivities to consider but there are also many ways that the council could and should have involved local residents in the discussion whilst still maintaining commercial confidentiality.

Woking Borough Council claims to be open and transparent. We are fortunate. Identified in the material supporting the Local Development Framework, The people of Woking know how to contribute and it would have been more prudent to have found ways to involve those local tax payers in the process rather than present them with a ‘fait accompli’ with no open debate amongst elected representatives.

At a full Council meeting on 22nd February I called for a review of council practices to ensure that only the absolute minimum information is kept secret. I feel that many of our residents will be resentful at being left out of the loop. They are consulted on many other issues and indeed rise to the occasion. In order for democracy to be meaningful and credible again there are requirements of those of us who are elected to reach out and include those who elect us and pick up the tab.

Rosie

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3 Responses

  1. Indeed I totally agree. Confidential meetings should only be held when they cover matters of private, or very rarely commercial confidentiality. They should be the exception rather than the rule. What I do not understand, though, is why the Conservative and Liberal parties on the Council seem to have both approved this without any dissent or public comment.

    I also find it insulting to have the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council make patronising comments suggesting that ‘residents’ are not capable of understanding these matters. We are not idiots and should not be treated as such.

  2. Didn’t the Lib Dem leadership on the council support the purchase ? Or do the local press have it wrong ?

  3. I think Rosie has made her position completely clear from the statement above?

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