September 25th, 2016

Plans to axe neighbourhood forums are branded as draconian

Updated: 4:52 pm, May 07, 2015

ORGANISED meetings between councillors and the public could be scrapped under new plans.

Neighbourhood forums see elected council members meet residents in their wards to discuss local issues but are often poorly attended.

And the council is now set to review their future – an idea one councillor branded ill thought out – while the planned summer meetings have already been axed.

Opposition deputy leader Allan Andrews said the review had come out of the blue and called on the forums to stay in place.

But deputy leader Phil Townshend called on the Earlsdon councillor to ‘chill out’ over the decision and to make a positive contribution on how to improve community engagement.

He said a consultation would decide on the forums’ future with options including having them every three-to-six months or merging them with other community meetings.

Coun Andrews had branded the summer forum cancellations as draconian.

“It would seem sensible to me to let the summer forums take place and ask local people how we can improve them,” he said.

“They are not perfect but they are an important link between local communities, who can sometimes feel remote from decisions made about their city, and the city council.”

But Coun Townshend added he was disappointed by the comments.

“It is fairly florid language to suggest the cancellation of the June Forum is a draconian measure,” he said.

“Some forums are remarkably well attended with over 30 or 40 individuals attending, whereas some attract as few as 6 or 7 individuals.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for councillors to provide feedback from the local community and to engage with local residents.”

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