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Resident Complaint Upheld by NSC

Posted on 11th March, 2019

 

 

As many of you are aware BOB has been scrutinising and campaigning for many years for residents to have full transparent access to information regarding our Parish Council’s decision making and public tax/precept expenditure. On 5 Feb 19 North Somerset's Standards Committee considered a complaint from a member of the public (not BOB):

The Sub-Committee considered the complaint, together with the response from the Councillor concerned and received the views of the Independent Lay Person and Independent Parish Councillor. In considering the key issues, the Sub-Committee concluded that the Councillor’s actions had breached Bleadon Parish Council’s Code of Conduct, in particular; Openness and Leadership.” (Min SSC 18 highlighted)

Councillors will be discussing this breach at the end of their next meeting on 11 Mar 19 (Min 320.23). Despite the lower priortiy in their agenda, item #23, we hope councillors will now more openly consult residents on major issues that may affect our community, and publish their ‘closed’ council and project group Terms of Reference, Agenda, Minutes, Reports, expentiture, etc. (especially as BPC is our Statutory Consultee!). BOB has also written to NSC in support of the resident including a reference document re: previous 2017/18 lack of openness and transparency.

 

Example 1: For over two years BOB has been making Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) aware of the potential of ‘fracking’ in our community, and surrounding neighbours, yet it has consistently refused to raise this issue in a public forum. Last year BOB again asked BPC to inform residents and ask their views, including asking BPC’s Neighbourhood Development Plan Working Group to add a question in their January Survey (BOB Blog and Feb 19 Min 319.11). Each time councillors, and working group, decided not to inform residents, why? 

 

At the last BPC public meeting, February, the Chairman of Frack Free North Somerset presented the outline `fracking` issues (Min 319.3i & ii). BPC listened but didn’t discuss the issue as it was not an agenda item. BPC has since decided not to add it to their current agenda, or to ask for a subsequent presentation as offered. This is despite some residents already receiving requests from an energy company to survey their land for potential development. Why isn’t BPC making information on this issue available so that residents can make informed decisions?

 

Even if councillors support fracking, in our, and surrounding neighbourhoods, surely residents and landowners have the right to be made aware of what the energy companies are planning to do? Surely residents have the right to make informed decisions about any future development that may occur and any potential health and safety hazards?

 

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See Bleadon Fracking blog and BOB's fracking page.and newspaper articles

 

Also, link to We are not Alone blog re: Brent Knoll residents concern about how local councillors are respresenting and/or misrepresenting them.

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