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Public gagged at area bored - everybody mutters

(September 23, 2009)
A LOCAL council initiative that should be the exciting leading edge of the new unitary authority 'where Wiltshire matters' could soon become known as the 'Warminster area bored' claims a former councillor.
"The area meeting tomorrow night (Thursday) has done away with the chance of public participation," says Paul Macdonald.
"I was on the former district council when this was introduced there and it was important step forward.
"Petitions could also be presented and provided people registered their wish to speak at least 30 minutes before the meeting they had their say."
The agenda for the Warminster Area Board which has had very little publicity has little local content to discuss apart from grant applications to help WCR and the Athenaeum and events at the town library.
The five councillors will then discuss how to involve the public at some future date but three of them are town councillors where the public do get their chance.
"If they are not careful it will quickly be the case of 'Warminster area bored' with it all.
"It is huge disappointment as this could have been thrashed out at the practise meetings when Cllr. Andrew Davis said he felt like he was like Cilla Black," added Paul.
Steve Dancey added: "The area board concept had great potential and it seems a shame that the public has been gagged in this way.
"I won't be othering until things have changed and spontaneous public questions are allowed.
"What are they afraid of? Are they frightened of the public? I always relished answering public questions and so should they."

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