Baroness Scott says 'very important to keep town councils informed(February 23, 2016)
WILTSHIRE Council leader Jane Scott has agreed that town and parish councillors should be kept better informed if major developers make significant changes to agreed planning blueprints.
The leader, recently created Baroness Scott of Bybrook, made her views known on Tuesday (23 Feb) at the annual budget meeting of the council in Trowbridge after Independent councillor Terry Chivers claimed a developer had back-tracked on a commitment to build a community centre on a large housing development at east Melksham.
County planners had agreed the changes to the developer's proposals but had failed to keep the local parish council, Melksham Without, up to speed about what was going on.
Cllr Chivers said: "It would be good practice in future when changes are being considered if we had the decency to consult the town and parish councils and let them know what is being considered."
In Melksham's case the community centre was axed when it was considered a new school could take on the community centre role on the new development.
Cllr Chivers thought it reasonable to expect the council to notify the local community if something important is taken away.
"A school doesn't double up as a community centre," he added.
The leader supported Cllr Chivers' view.
She said: "Not only should we have told the parish council we should have discussed it with the parish council - it was a major change."
Keeping parish councils informed should be 'really important' said the leader as the relationship between the two tiers of local government is a two way street.
VFW's Steve Dancey, attended the meeting. He said: "I think the big developers have regarded Wiltshire and in the past its district council, as an easy touch.
"Our Council have demanded little in the way of community facilities and eventually ended up with less - just the very bare minimum.
"Now with so many towns, including Warminster, gearing up for expansion we really must do better."