Residents Meeting Monday 11 Apr at 7pm

Posted on 10th April, 2022

 

A reminder that the parish meeting tomorrow, Monday 11 April 2022 at 7pm, is a RESIDENT’S MEETING not a parish council meeting. We understand the council’s legal obligation is to widely inform residents 7 clear days beforehand (not including weekends), to arrange the hall booking and provide a chairman for residents to raise their views and concerns regarding the parish. It seems that councillors and the clerk are not required to attend.

 

It’s therefore interesting to note that the undated chairman’s agenda puts the residents ‘Open Forum’, the main legal purpose of the meeting, at the very end of her agenda, putting residents after parish councillors and her chosen speakers have spoken. The agenda appears to be a twist on the usual council meeting (where residents are not permittted to talk or question councillors during the meeting) and a 'Contact Us' meeting (where village organisations promote their services to new residents).

 

It’s also interesting to note that there is no update on planning development, no mention of local, district or national consultations affecting our community e.g. potential Bleadon wind & solar PV farms, and no update on roads and travel (buses) from the council? Nor is there an indication of BPC’s plans for our community, having ‘lost’ the residents’ agreed and adopted Parish Plan (£10K+?) and stalled its Neighbourhood Plan (£8K+?) pre-covid. So whose views are councillors basing their decision making and expenditure on?

  • Why is there no mention of North Somerset’s potential plans for Bleadon wind and solar PV farms (consultation started on 14 March ending 29 April 22, i.e. before the next BPC meeting,
    • Why not visit one of the drop-in sessions to talk to NSC officers about how the Local Plan process will shape the future development of North Somerset up to 2038 - Wednesday 13 April from 4pm to 6pm at The Campus, Weston-super-Mare)?
  • Considering the current energy crisis, what about an update on the existing fracking licences that cover the whole of Bleadon, WSM and into Somerset? What about the expansion of Bristol Airport 4,000 night flights, or geo-engineering in the skies over the area? With WSM stated as being the fastest growing town in Europe, where is Bleadon’s ‘Strategic Gap’ to stop urban sprawl invading our rural community? Do NSC have any plans for Bleadon's rural lanes?
  • When NSC’s Local Plan is agreed will applications be auto-approved or will resident’s still be able to comment on individual proposals?

What about the changes to Bleadon’s bus services and associated safety issues? Or an update on the A370 speed changes, central reservation, traffic lights, ‘village’ one-way system, etc.?

 

Bleadon is a rural village, so with global leaders indicating possible food shortages what is BPC doing to promote local food security? How is it supporting our rural farmers and workers?

 

The COVID elephant in the room has also been ignored, what was the £10K grant awarded to BPC in 2020. used for (COVID, Cllr ipads, church clock)? Local, district and national government policies have undoubtedly had a huge effect on all residents’ emotional, mental, physical and economic well-being. It’s also had a huge effect on local, district and national democracy with more and more meetings and decision making being made behind closed doors, resulting in an increasing lack of transparency.

 

This year, during the current economic crisis, Bleadon Parish Council gave itself a £64K budget financed by a £54K tax/precept demanded from Bleadon residents (£50K in 2021 makes a 8% increase), with £8K taken from reserves. If the parish council exists to democratically represent its residents, do residents feel that BPC uses its newsletter and website to inform and gather residents’ views of government activity effectively? E.g. How does it inform residents of consultations and available BPC grants? (e.g. the ‘independent’ Bleadon in Bloom group was given a grant of £8.5K+ in 2021/22 and £? in 2022)

  • BPC’s ‘independent’ newsletter, is subsidised up to £4.6K p/yr. It was delivered this week with an article from the clerk and one from the chairman but none attributed to councillors? Why doesn’t it mention the bus changes or the NSC Local Plan seven week consultation (ends 29 Apr 22), both affecting the whole of our community? How does BPC ensure that its newsletter is delivered in a timely manner to ensure that events aren’t missed? How does BPC ensure that it’s ‘Letter to the Editor’ is used in an appropriate and respectful manner towards other residents, business owners, developers, etc. (e.g. Page 3)? Is the newsletter balanced or generally village rather than parish focussed? Is its circulation outside Bleadon appropriate if those residents don’t pay Bleadon taxes?
  • Do residents feel that BPC and its councillors practice transparency of its decision making and expenditure? Does it encourage its clerk (£48K+ pro rata) to ensure that its communications are clear, timely and accurate to avoid miscommunications between the council, working groups and residents as highlighted in its newsletter delivered this week, pg 3? (BPC represented Working Group minutes, actions, decisions and agreements are not generally published; monthly, annual, and ad hoc sub-committee minutes are generally only published 3 days before the next meeting, usually without appendices)

It appears only councillors and invited speakers attended the Parish Meeting last year (related blog). Perhaps, if a large number of residents attend on Monday, the chair might put the residents ‘Open Forum’ first, to enable residents to have sufficient time to voice their views and concerns regarding their community. Maybe residents can reclaim their ONLY OFFICIAL ANNUAL RESIDENT’S MEETING.

 

--------------

Additional info:

Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (0)