Doing the right thing, in the right way – that’s all we ask of Surrey County Council’s officers and our elected Councillors!
The officers of Surrey County Council will soon publish recommendations for new parking arrangements in Waverley, including Haslemere. Their report will be considered for decision by the Council’s Waverley Local Committee on 16th March. Both the recommendations and the decision will need to satisfy certain tests politically and legally; the political test as to whether our Councillors respect the electorate and the legal tests as to whether the recommendations and decision are lawful, rational and the result of adequate process.
The right thing – New traffic management schemes, including parking arrangements, play a fundamental part in a local economy and the living environment. For this reason, the Council officers’ recommendations and the Local Committee’s decisions must (a) be based on solid evidence and data, (b) benefit from an evaluation of all relevant factors, and (c) take account of the impact on all relevant amenities, organisations and stakeholders. Failure on any of these fronts opens up both the recommendations and the decision to judicial review.
The right way – The Waverley Local Committee has been delegated an exercise of discretion to make decisions with the clear objective of enhancing localism within the Big Society. Not only does this place heightened emphasis on the need for much better consultation than has been achieved so far, but it also focuses attention on the committee’s 18 members. They each have a responsibility to ensure that the officers, Task Groups and their reports supporting the committee’s decisions have followed proper processes. Those processes must involve robust research, due consideration and full consultation. Failure in any respect must mean the committee should withhold its approval. In addition, each committee member is under a legal obligation to focus personally in the decision-making and cannot decide in advance to follow another committee member’s lead, however convenient that may be.
We cannot hide our scepticism and do not believe that the final report of Surrey County Council’s officers will be able to be based on adequate data or consultation – six weeks from the January meeting in Haslemere Hall until the publication of the final report is simply not enough time to remedy a year of inadequate research and engagement. Indeed, a long overdue meeting between the Chair of Waverley Local Committee and even just a subset of community representatives is scheduled for the evening before the report is due to be published – how can that sort of approach be considered due process, let alone authentic localism?
Jeremy and Nikki Barton
The Haslemere Action Group against the Parking Proposals
Jeremy & Nikki Barton letter in The Haslemere Herald, 24th February 2012
From: Nikki Barton [mailto: removed]
Sent: 26 February 2012 9:06 AM
Subject: FW: Letter re. Haslemere Parking as promised
Please find attached the letter published in the Haslemere Herald on Feb 24th. We would like to submit it to the Haslemereparking website for inclusion as we feel so strongly that our elected representatives on the Local Waverley Committee have both a legal and moral duty to fully consider the SCC proposals, both their formulation and impact, before voting on the proposals on March 16th.
Nikki and Jerry Barton
Haslemere Action Group Against the Parking Proposals