Monday, 1 August 2011

Lib Dems' Secret Consultation

More green fields are under threat in Hedge End as Lib Dems insist the public are to be excluded from a Town Council briefing by Eastleigh Borough Council.  This despite their election claim to "involve people in decisions" and "we value YOUR views".

After the bombshell that fields at Woodhouse Lane are going to be designated a "preferred location" for housing, despite the Lib Dems' specific promise to campaign against housing on County Council owned land in the area (reported here.), and their sham consultation, which does not allow people in Hedge End to express their views on the Woodhouse Lane plans (see the leaflet here.), there now comes the shock that the party that used to stand up for open democracy and against excessive secrecy is breaking a commitment made at the last Town Council to have the next stage of discussions at a normal meeting, open to the public.

I had a motion at that meeting which would have called on the Town Council to oppose the Woodhouse Lane proposals, and also to hold all future meetings on the subject in public.  As you can see from the minutes (here), the Lib Dems decided to postpone this discussion until September, after a briefing by Eastleigh to the Highways and Planning Committee in August.

When the agenda for this Wednesday's Highways and Planning Committee was first distributed the discussion on the Local Development Framework was, indeed, scheduled to take place at 6:30 as the first item of business (the council normally deals with items of public interest at the beginning of the agenda so that people do not have to sit through the boring bits of the meeting waiting for the juicy stuff).

Within hours, though, the Lib Dem leadership had bulldozed through the agenda and the amended version (published on the council web site here) puts the item as the last thing on the agenda, after a motion to exclude members of the public and press.

So much for open democracy, so much for involving local people in decisions.  It looks like all they want the public to do is rubber stamp decisions made by the Lib Dems behind closed doors.


  1. Jenny Schwausch1 August 2011 at 18:27

    So - the Public are being excluded from this important decision affecting the lives of local residents in this 'so called' consultation. Why don't the Lib Dems leave off the 'sultation' bit off the word to give a true picture of the situation? Our roads and local infrastructure is already over stretched and Hedge End has more that done its bit with the ugly Dowds Farm development and vast Grange Park. The green fields of Hedge End are fast disappearing.

    Obviously our Councillors aren't interested in representing local peoples views now they sitting comfortably deciding our futures.

    Thanks for keeping us informed, Keith.

  2. Interested to see you use the word "ugly" Jenny. I've often had that thought, as I drive past Dowds Farm. More of the same would not be welcome in Hedge End.