It’s now an established fact that this country is in recession. People are losing their jobs and homes. The credit crunch is biting hard and people are cutting back on spending. The economic downturn is on the news, in the papers and is the talk of the pubs – well those pubs that are managing to stay open. But what does Fylde Council do at this time – debte the economic situation? No they spend an hour debating if the planning meetings should start at 09:30 or 14:00. The big topic of Monday night’s meeting was just that.
Now I don’t blame the officers of the council here, or the Chairman of planning or the cabinet or of course the Conservative members of the council. We were all quiet happy moving to 14:00. Starting at that time allows councillors who work more chance to attend, but more importantly than that – it allows members of the public more chance. It opens up planning meetings to people who would otherwise be at work and that can only be a good thing.
But the opposition – who don’t like change – insisted on keeping it at 09:30 so they moved amendments, they asked questions, they called it disgraceful and they talked it round the houses. Perhaps they feel that planning should be held in private or we should find as many ways as possible to stop that pesky public from watching and contributing to planning application decisions?
Th vote was taken and yet again democracy shone through in Fylde when it was decided by the council something like 21 votes to 12 to start planning meetings at 14:00. This is good news for people who want to support or oppose a planning application and it is good news for Fylde. But I can’t help thinking that the council could be spending that hour talking about how we can help Fylde out during this recession – that would have been better news for Fylde.