The si­lence is deaf­en­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Robert Bar­man

THE se­nior ex­ec­u­tive charged with de­liv­er­ing jobs and houses to Ash­ford quit his own job this week. Martin Ba­con, who was gen­er­ously paid out of pub­lic funds and en­joyed a six-fig­ure salary, abruptly re­signed amid a swirl of ru­mours. But what has Ash­ford coun­cil had to say about it all? With the ex­cep­tion of a pal­try one-para­graph state­ment and a few bland com­ments from its leader, pre­cisely noth­ing. Our ques­tions about the story and its ram­i­fi­ca­tions for Ash­ford’s Fu­ture, the quango Mr Ba­con headed, were re­buffed sev­eral times with a se­ries of curt “no com­ments.” Open­ness and ac­count­abil­ity are, sadly, in­creas­ingly alien con­cepts to a coun­cil wed­ded to the view that it should be the ul­ti­mate judge of what in­for­ma­tion its cit­i­zens ought to have. Mr Ba­con was a high-profile fig­ure with a crit­i­cal role. But the quango he headed now has no one at the helm. A cause for con­cern? Not if you are Ash­ford coun­cil, which pulled down the shut­ters and has had ab­so­lutely noth­ing to say about how this will af­fect the drive to se­cure 28,000 jobs, vi­tal re­gen­er­a­tion projects and the huge house-build­ing pro­gramme. Its at­ti­tude ap­pears to be that this is a lit­tle lo­cal dif­fi­culty that ought not to trou­ble the hard-pressed coun­cil tax­pay­ers of the bor­ough. What an in­sult. The coun­cil leader has even had the temer­ity to sug­gest it rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity. Not even Alastair Camp­bell could spin like that.

Its at­ti­tude ap­pears to be that this is a lit­tle lo­cal dif­fi­culty that ought not to trou­ble the hard­pressed coun­cil tax­pay­ers of the bor­ough. What an in­sult

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