Shouting down democracy

A council meeting in Kingswood descended into shouting over the  local Tories’ intention to concrete over fields near Thornbury.

In the summer, the Council applied to the Government for funds to investigate “Buckover Garden Village”. This proposal is to build 3,000 homes straddling the A38, just to the north west of Thornbury. But the application did not go through any of the council’s democratic processes.

Cllr John O’Neill, representing Charfield said: “This document appeared out of nowhere, with “the council’s full endorsement”.  It called it “an exciting prospect”. The council “fully supported” it. But it had never, ever come before a council committee to be discussed. So I asked the leader of council what democratic process it had gone through. He agreed wholeheartedly that we had processes it should have seen – and that it hadn’t gone through any of them. We are still in the dark as to how this decision was reached.”

Councillor Riddle explained at length why he supported it – but didn’t have a single word on how it had been democratically agreed.

Cllr Mike Drew, from Yate said: “What on earth is the point in questions to council when the leader simply chooses to ignore them. We have systems in this council, massive projects like this are supposed to be agreed transparently – even if we don’t like the outcome, it happens in public. This was a secret decision, with no vote and no due process. It’s an absolute disgrace.”