A bit of a controversy has emerged over councillors eligibility to attend the debate on the Castle Point Council’ daft New Local Plan to be held on the 9th December.
Councillors with pecuniary interests are excluded from participating. This leaves Canvey West Ward, where most of the Borough’s development sites are sited, un-represented!
Two mainland councillors, the Leader cllr Riley and cllr Hart, requesting dispensation to participate.
Checking the Castle Point website it appears one of the Canvey West Ward councillors has no declared interests, yet is still excluded.
This lack of representation of residents in some areas of the Borough, it may be argued, gives a poor reflection of residents’ views across the whole Borough!
I have sent the findings of York City Council to Castle Point officers, as York’s interpretation of councillors eligibility to vote on their Local Plan appears different, less rigid than our local authority.
I note that one councillor, an estate agent, someone whose business is likely to directly benefit from housing development, another cllr a school governor whose school would likely benefit from a new access road are among those eligible to vote on CPBC Local Plan.
It strikes me that, as residents are the ones who lose out at times like these, it should be compulsory at Election time that any prospective councillor should legally declare all interests and for these interests to be made known prior to the vote.
That way residents would be aware of any conflict of interest that would prevent a prospective councillor from representing ward residents on matters that they feel are of most importance for them.
After all, finding out now that our councillors are unable to represent us during the Local Plan debate, is of a Fat lot of Use!
CLLRs Riley and Hart’s case for dispensation will be considered on the 8th December by the Review Committee, one member of whom is surprisingly mentioned above!