Dear Mr Hodge
I was copied on an e-mail that was sent to you by Julianne Evans, President of Haslemere’s Chamber of Trade, this morning.
You very kindly called me ten days ago after I’d sent you the e-mail below. You shared with me that, having spent 2.5 hours in Haslemere, you felt everything worked alright in our town. You said twice in our conversation that there were lots of concerns and they would be heard and resolved in the Local Committee meeting on 16th March. I’m sorry to share, they weren’t heard and they weren’t resolved.
I’ve been thinking of writing all week but being haslemereparking.com Editor (full-time), being a mother (full-time), running a business (full-time), and now having to get very involved in a residents’ association, it has left me feeling spent. I have an inkling that it was as result of your intervention that the pay & display proposals for the residential areas were dropped. If so, I offer you a belated thank you.
But, I share with you that I’ve had no inclination to celebrate this week. It all comes down to the conduct of the Local Committee in the meeting last Friday which was truly dreadful. It was my first ever Committee meeting. I’d like to think my last but I believe there’s going to be a re-run in June. In one of her opening lines the Committee Chair, Pat Frost, declared we were behaving like we were on a picnic and yet it was a Local Committee member sitting there eating the sandwiches during the meeting. Let me reassure you that the last 2 months have been no picnic for the Haslemere residents who have been fighting these proposals.
In the Haslemere Herald today, Councillor Renshaw is cited:
“Although the committee reached a balanced view, I was very concerned with the discourtesy and inappropriate behaviour of so many of the public – who seemed unable to distinguish between a public meeting and a meeting that was being held in public – who had clearly been badly led and ill advised, which reflected poorly on the people of Haslemere in the eyes of the committee. There can be no excuses for that type of behaviour under any circumstances.”
And yet, in the letters’ section of the same newspaper, 4 town and borough councillors openly write a letter to publicly disassociate themselves from “the shockingly disrespectful way Haslemere residents were treated at the SCC meeting last Friday.”
It is surely extraordinary that councillors have come away from a Local Committee meeting with such disparate views. Is Councillor Renshaw right to make his assertion on behalf of the whole Committee? I, for one, can’t agree that the committee reached a balanced view. By definition, balanced view means taking everything into account; fairly judged or presented. How can that be the case when (as I write here: http://haslemereparking.com/on-the-fruits-of-their-labour-that-haslemere-took-away/) the officers’ taking everything into account is so flawed?
How do we continue from here? Please allow Haslemere a proper consultation that adheres to the values of Surrey County Council’s Constitution – Trust – Respect – Listen – Responsibility.
I am convinced that we can find a local solution (once we’ve ascertained the problem!)
With kind regards – Áine Hall