A personal view of the Council meeting I attended recently, and maybe a little constructive criticism.
After the usual formalities of minutes etc, the latest full council meeting started well, with our new Mayor introducing himself, and giving us a little background on his heritage and his plans as Swanley Mayor.
After the Mayors communications report there was a public question time. Questions ranged from queries about the website agendas, accusations of bullying correspondence, development of the rec., and questions on the Working Mens Club site.
The Leader of The Council answered these questions , in my opinion, with varying degrees of success. It must be difficult to answer questions which are bound by confidentiality issues etc., but if a person is accused of bullying, then surely that person should be able to find out details of what they are accused of?
The Leader also reported that the Council suffers a concerted campaign to undermine its work from Twitter, Facebook, Streetlife etc., but comments from the floor reminded him that these are public sites, and anybody can make comments (good , bad or just plain mad). He also reminded us that the members of the Council are decent hardworking people who give up their free time for the community.
There then followed two motions , one to supply disability friendly play equipment in Swanley Park, (passed unanimously), and another motion to set up two sub committees to consider staff grievances and appeals.(passed).
Next on the agenda came a report regarding councillor conduct, and rules regarding councillors suspensions, the end result being that the Council has no powers to suspend an elected councillor. There then followed a bizarre scene where a councillor who had been sitting with his feet up on a chair and reading a newspaper suddenly jumped up, told another councillor how much he hated him, and said he would “expose people”. The Leader asked for him to be ejected from the Council chambers, and peace again resumed!
This ended the Full Council Meeting and most members of the public left the room as there would follow a Development Committee meeting, which are not generally as exciting as the Council meetings!
The development meeting followed the usual routine of planning applications being accepted or rejected. We ( the three remaining members of the public present) were then informed that there would now be a presentation by the owners of Swanley shopping centre (U&I) consisting of drawings and details of their plans for Swanley centre!. No prior notice of this very important presentation was given on the Council website , and it was not mentioned on the website agenda!
The presentation proved to be very informative , and to his credit the Chairman of the meeting broke protocol by allowing questions from the floor.
Questions must be asked as to why the U&I presentation was not more widely advertised, and as to the embarrassing behaviour of Council members. Do the Council not want the public to attend meetings?
A Labour Party Member