LABOUR COUNCILLORS GAGGED FOR ATTEMPTING TO RAISE RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS
Labour town councillors have complained of being unfairly silenced in town council meetings for purely political reasons. The claim from Cllrs Jonathan Parry and David Williams came after five Labour motions were blocked from inclusion on the September town council meeting agenda. It transpires that interference from Middlewich First councillors has been allowed by the Chair.
Cllr Jonathan Parry, who put forward four of the motions, said: “I’m obviously very disappointed. I was elected last month to speak on behalf of residents, which is exactly what I have tried to do. However, other councillors have had a say in silencing me – which means that residents have been denied a voice.
“Each motion was an issue that several residents had brought to me, and I am doing my duty as a councillor by raising these at full council to gather unified support. Most disappointing of all is that no one told me about the removal of the motions, which I only discovered when I queried the published agenda. And I have yet to receive an explanation which I consider to be acceptable.
“I will continue to speak and listen to residents and I refuse to be gagged from raising their issues. As councillors we are elected to represent the Middlewich people, which I will keep doing. Their issues will be heard!”
Cllr David Williams, who had one motion blocked, added: “Last night I tried to raise residents’ concerns about a proposed 500 house development off Centurion Way. This should have been considered at the July town council meeting, so we could have had input into the consultation. However, it was removed from the agenda at the last minute. My attempt last night was blocked by the ruling group of councillors. I don’t know why Middlewich First want to gag councillors who are trying to raise residents’ concerns, but they do a disservice to the town.
“Cheshire West, who don’t represent Middlewich, have raised concerns about this planning application, particularly the impact on our town. Yet our own town council have stayed silent, gagged councillors and suppressed debate. I believe this proposed housing estate is unsustainable without the necessary road infrastructure to cope with the 2000 plus car journeys it will generate.
“I’m afraid the town council burying its head in the sand means Middlewich’s chronic congestion is only set to get worse.”
Cllr Mike Hunter, who is the most experienced town councillor concluded: “When I was first elected in the early 90s, the council was made up of all different parties – Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Independents. Motions were placed on the agenda and councillors would either agree with them or not – but no one would ever have thought of blocking any motions. I am deeply saddened that Middlewich First councillors do not want to give the town council the opportunity to stand up for the residents of Middlewich. If they don’t want to do the job that’s fine, but they should not stop other people from doing so.”
Labour motions which were blocked:
David Williams: “MTC opposes the proposed development of 500 houses on a site that straddles Byley Lane and is adjacent Centurion Way. This development would be severely detrimental to Middlewich and is unsustainable given the existing overcrowded road network, particularly in the north eastern part of our town.
Jonathan Parry: “Will Middlewich Town Council call on Cheshire East Council to reinstate the minibus which went down sycamore drive and other areas to pick up people who struggle to make it to bus stops. This is an essential service and since it stopped it has left lots of people stranded in their own homes reliant on friends and relatives.”
Jonathan Parry: “Will Middlewich Town Council call on Cheshire East Council to ensure that more care and attention put into the maintenance of green areas. Any area that has been mowed is left in a disgrace. Long patches of grass left, all loose mowed grass left which gets blown onto the pavements and roads. It looks a mess.”
Jonathan Parry: “Will Middlewich Town Council call on Cheshire East Council to conduct a regular cleanup on sycamore drive park to there being broken glass there on a regular basis, also asking for a safety audit of the existing play equipment and necessary repairs carried out.”
Jonathan Parry: “Middlewich Town Council opposes any change to the Bypass route which has approved planning permission. Any route change will only be for the economic benefit of Cheshire East Council to open up development land nearer to the M6 and for possible link to HS2 and a freight depot. The bypass is for the benefit of the people of Middlewich and they should be put first and foremost before anything else. Nothing has changed in Middlewich since the planning permission was granted. Any route change will just cause further delay and cost to the taxpayer. We don't need more consultations, these have been done several times already. It is now time to press ahead with this important project and provide much needed relief to the long suffering residents of this town.”