Thursday, 22 March 2007

Madness of Local Government

I've now been a local councillor for nearly a year - and the more my eyes are opened to the "system" the more I am convinced that everyone in Westminster should be forced to do time in local government.

Housing is a big issue - house prices are rising so fast that many people become desperate. In my ward we have just had a farmer put up a 20ft high wall of straw bales so he could build a 3 bedroom house without planning permission.

At the latest Parish Council meeting, local residents clearly felt this is deeply wrong - but what can be done? The legal process is that the owner must now apply for retrospective planning permission and the application will be judged as if it had never been built. Everyone has to sit back and wait for an independent planning commission.

In the meantime, I am not allowed to say anything. If I express any opinion I could be deemed to be "pre-determined" and would lose my right to vote. Imagine how MPs would feel if they were not allowed to express their views on issues before the day of a vote? At least the newspapers would be lighter.


simply wondered said...

i have alternative: everyone involved ion local government in westminster should be forced to do time - have you seen what those idiots are doing to this urban community???
sadly the general view of local government is that it should be kept away form making any decisions that matter in the slightest - a gross slur on loads of hard-working councillors of all political colours i'm sure, but how did it get that way? lady porter (didn't do time on account of being very very rich) and her cronies are partly to blame and their heirs are still screwing up my life today.

simply wondered said...

typo city above - sorry; should have studied harder...

Vicky Ford said...

Dear simply wondered

Why don't you stand as a local councillor then or indeed for the GLA? We are a broad church.... I'm proud to be working with a group of councillors who think there is no point harping back to things that happened 20 years ago -Make a difference now.

SimpleTory said...

Perhaps this is why it's now so difficult to get people to stand for public office?
This bias/pre-determination business is a Labour nonsense - the sooner the relevant law is scrapped the better.
The Public do not realise this law exists and do not understand why their local Councillors are no longer allowed to have opinions.
Perhaps something you could get your teeth into?

Vicky Ford said...

Dear Simple Tory
Of course the Conservative Party is the largest party in Local government. And dominate many of the "growth areas" where planning is so controversial. There is probably no interest from Government in letting local councillors look informed, intelligent or caring.