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Further Observations on the PC Meeting -08/04/24

13th April 2024 @ 6:06am – by Peter Morgan
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AoL Roving Reporter has previously covered the main issues raised in the public question and answer session which took up the full 30 minutes allowed for it. In fact, this is often the most revealing part of the evening. It was Mr Michael Cookson who enquired about the Turnpike 'Fields in Trust' delay following the signing and passing of the Deed by the pc last year, which he pointed out, cannot now be revoked and registration should have followed, so why the delay?

The Chairman and clerk manfully (or should that be personfully?) did their best to respond to these questions by holding a straight bat and defending their wicket with an occasional deflection reaching the boundary or disappearing into the long grass. It's a difficult task, chairing an open session when questions appear thick and fast. Also, it's not helped, when some m.o.p persist in asking questions during the meeting. They have had their 30-minute opportunity and should be denied, the only exception being the occasional Point of Information taken by the chair to illuminate the issue under debate. This problem is being addressed by the pc in it's new Policy for Public Participation due to be published shortly. As an example, councillor McLaren Brown raised his concern for the structural integrity of the TF bridge between the fields which requires new handrails. He recommended the appointment of a structural engineer to assess its safety, although he was informed that it had carried a large tractor and trailer with no problem last year. But once an issue concerning safety is raised, it is recorded in minutes and must be formally dealt with according to Councillor Bailey, who had joined the meeting. However, two m.o.p were able to inform the council that the bridge is in fact part of the Canal and River Trust culvert under the canal and as such is their responsibility. It was agreed to contact the CRT and request that they carry out a survey which hopefully will be at no cost to the parish. Wise heads carried the day.

CE councillor Bailey gave a report on proceedings within CE, an important one of which was, where has all the money gone? sound familiar? C. Bailey had previously raised the issue of a Peer Review into council finances without success. However, with a new chief exec in place, he has agreed to a Peer Review on the expenditure issue. We await the result. C. Bailey also revealed the fact that the central government's, financial road improvement package has been allocated by CE primarily to urban areas. No doubt to keep those shiny urban off-roaders, splash free. Meanwhile, out in the sticks we will continue to see our roads disintegrating from the verge inwards as the basic infrastructure disintegrates under the weight and width of the heavy goods wagons and tractors using them. C. Bailey referred to Coole Lane as an example of a positively dangerous road due to its lack of maintenance and resulting structural failure. How long before many more of our local roads deteriorate beyond recovery?

Discussion took place on the composition of the TFWG with pc members reduced to three with the remainder volunteers. We were informed that the policy document on the operational procedures for the working group had been approved although it was not made public as to what they were, the discussion was held in camera at the March meeting, secrecy being vital it would appear. Although the parish clerk is now the official contact point for all correspondence concerning the Field. Its probably safe to assume that these changes will not enhance the speed of the decision process, but time will tell.

Peter Morgan

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