Calls to put the community first
Anger over councillors’ role in parish
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