Calls to put the com­mu­nity first

Anger over coun­cil­lors’ role in parish

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­

VIL­LAGERS are up in arms over at­tempts to play ‘party pol­i­tics’ at a parish coun­cil in the run up to the elec­tions.

Vil­lagers quizzed Chal­font St Peter Parish Coun­cil at a well-at­tended meet­ing on Thurs­day last week. Con­tro­versy was sparked when the Con­ser­va­tive Party put for­ward can­di­dates to chal­lenge in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates for seats. Crit­ics say long-serv­ing in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lors should not face chal­lenges from a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party at parish coun­cil level.

Chair­man of the parish coun­cil, Linda Smith, would not be drawn on the ques­tions, stat­ing the coun­cil was bound by Pur­dah.

Pur­dah is the pe­riod be­tween when an elec­tion is an­nounced and the fi­nal elec­tion re­sults.

It pre­vents lo­cal gov­ern­ment from mak­ing an­nounce­ments about any new or con­tro­ver­sial ini­tia­tives which could be ad­van­ta­geous to any can­di­dates or par­ties in the forth­com­ing elec­tion.

Speak­ing at the meet­ing Ca­role Pow­ell said: “I am deeply con­cerned that this part of our com­mu­nity is be­ing ‘party po­lit­i­cal’ dur­ing the forth­com­ing elec­tion, which to me seems to be a big mis­take, be­cause it’s caus­ing di­vi­sions and it’s nar­row­ing the pool of tal­ent that could con­trib­ute to the vil­lage.

“There is noth­ing that the parish coun­cil does that is party po­lit­i­cal and I be­lieve the parish coun­cil should put the com­mu­nity be­fore pol­i­tics.”

Mrs Fisher, of Leachcroft, Chal­font St Peter, said: “A parish coun­cil is for the peo­ple, noth­ing else.”

Res­i­dents are also an­gry that they will be rep­re­sented on the parish coun­cil by a coun­cil­lor who does not live in the vil­lage.

Howard Jones of Join­ers Lane said: “When I heard some­one in Jor­dans was go­ing to be my parish coun­cil­lor I was livid.”

Coun­cil­lor Smith replied: “I’m not go­ing to get in­volved in any­thing tonight.

“I’d be more than happy to speak to you about any of the is­sues that have been asked.”

Coun­cil­lor Karen Dick­son said: “If you dis­cuss it af­ter the elec­tion there will be 15 peo­ple on the coun­cil dis­cussing the same is­sues.”

Coun­cil­lor Richard Allen added: “The in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Pur­dah is com­pletely in­ac­cu­rate.”

THANK YOU: Parish coun­cil­lor Ken Adams re­ceives the free­dom of the parish from chair­man Linda Smith and be­low, a paint­ing from lo­cal artist Mau­reen Marsh A COUN­CIL­LOR has Com­mu­nity Safety Club. been granted the Out­side of the vil­lage hon­orary free­dom of his both Ken and his wife vil­lage. have been in­volved in

Chal­font St Peter swim­ming for 25 years at Parish Coun­cil­lor, Ken lo­cal, county, re­gional Adams, who will re­tire and na­tional level and from the parish coun­cil still as­sists in af­ter 40 years, was cham­pi­onships. recog­nised for nearly a He is a vol­un­teer with decade of ser­vice to the the scouts and cubs and com­mu­nity. still as­sists at the Dor­ney

Speak­ing on Thurs­day Wood camp­site. last week Mr Adams Chair­man of the said: “I shall miss you all. coun­cil of Linda Smith It’s been a fan­tas­tic time, said: “Thank you Ken for thank you very much.” your amaz­ing vol­un­tary

Mr Adams has also ser­vice to this vil­lage. served 45 years as a “Your com­mit­ment and school gover­nor, 36 that of many oth­ers is years as a trustee of the what makes our vil­lage Maria Tay­lor Char­ity and so spe­cial.” 35 years as a trustee of the Youth Club.

He is also a mem­ber of the Neigh­bour­hood Ac­tion Group and has served 15 years as a mem­ber of the vil­lage

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