Cllr Jon Hubbard

Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South

Serving the community across Melksham

As previously reported, I have written to Andrew Kerr, the Chief Executive of Wiltshire Council, to formally complain about the conduct of the council at the Area Board meeting on 29th March.

You can see below the letter in full.

Dear Andrew

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

I am writing to you to formally complain about the conduct of the council at the Area Board Meeting held on 29th March 2011.

This meeting, planned for several months, was the culmination of an extended process regarding the councils proposals for a new community campus in Melksham.

As the council's proposals have included plans to close the existing town centre library and youth centre there has been considerable disquiet within the local community and, as you are aware, an active campaign to retain these local services and therefore it was important that the council should have been seen to be open and honest with the public and members on all matters.

The council has maintained a position that they would not answer any questions from the public in advance of the debate at the meeting on the 29th March. After considerable pressure from some elected members we were promised that if questions were submitted by at least one week prior to the meeting, a written answer would be provided in advance.

In the event, no such written answers were provided in advance of the meeting. In addition, no answers to these questions were brought to the meeting for distribution to either elected members or members of the public. Members are still unclear about what questions have even been asked. When I raised this point at the meeting and complained I was informed that they were available on the Council's website on the special Melksham Community Campus web page. I then checked this page, and there was no evidence of the questions or answers being on the page. I attach a printout of the relevant page from the council's web site for your convenience (taken from http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/melkshamcommunitycampus).

When I challenged the Officer on this point I received no answer.

This blatant withholding of information from the public and elected members, only damages the reputation of the council and promotes public disquiet and distrust in the organisation.

Councillors were also asked to vote on adopting a policy for the management of the new campus without having been giving the relevant papers in advance. I strongly object to being asked to vote on the adoption of a management system for a £23m facility with just 10 minutes to read the complex proposal.

Could you please clarify for me why elected members, and the public, were not given proper and full disclosure of the information in good time for the meeting.

I do believe that the council has potentially left itself open to legal challenge on the process of reaching the decisions made at yesterdays meeting and ask that you investigate this matter urgently.

In the interests of openness, I should inform you that this letter is in the public domain.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Jon Hubbard
Member for Melksham South

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Cllr Jon Hubbard 

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