I concur with the sentiments expressed by Diane Smith (no relation) in her letter and with Vivienne Bond on recent “Your Views” pages.
Rother District Council’s majority group seem to relish the contempt with which they treat members of the public and councillors from the parishes that wish to address council meetings.
Indeed, when, as the then Chairman of Rye Town Council’s Planning & Townscape Committee, I wrote requesting to speak to an important planning application RDC were considering, I received no acknowledgement and was ignored.
Hardly in accord with the Nolan Principles or even common courtesy!
Simply another method of manipulating and controlling the proceedings to ensure the majority group’s preferred outcomes and appease their political masters rather than the people they were elected to serve?
Sadly, it would appear to be so.
Mike French’s recent letter, also of last week, stated the need to move away from the Cabinet system, as have independent District councillors and others in the past.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that this allegedly divisive system does nothing to allay citizens’ fears that democratic process is not what it should be in Rother.
RDC needs to address these glaring inadequacies in governance and transparency and vote to adopt the far more open and accountable Committee system, if only to help rebuild their credibility in the eyes of the electorate and beyond.
With regard to local democracy, the people of Bexhill have long been without proper franchise and must now demand representation via their own town council, other options (area committees/parished wards etc.) have fewer local powers, are likely to be ineffective and, in the case of area committees, have been previously considered by RDC and rejected (2013).
It should also be noted that RDC would be much weaker with this scale of devolution and it would only be brave, forward-looking and selfless district councillors, those without vested self-interest, who would be capable of creating such an important legacy.
As such, I would urge voters to only support candidates who publicly endorse these necessary changes in local governance in May’s elections, and can be trusted to deliver them, for we have lived under this “elected dictatorship” for too long.
Galley Hill View