Please see attached letter sent to David Hodge (@SurreyCouncil) & @Jeremy_Hunt

Dear Editor

Please see attached letter sent to David Hodge & Jeremy Hunt today:

Dear Sirs

I attended the Waverley Local Committee meeting last Friday where I spoke to the e-petition about parking and also asked two questions.  I think it is crucial to make some points to you about the meeting and the people who attended:

  • The autocratic and unsympathetic style in which the meeting was chaired did nothing to defuse the emotions of the 200 strong audience, which were understandably running high after the publication of an inaccurate and biased Officers’ report.  This had concluded that Pay & Display and all proposals for yellow lines and Resident Permits should go ahead in residential roads.  If Pat Frost had a) shown some humility and b) announced straight away that P&D had been dropped, this would have calmed things down considerably.
  • Those present were NOT a minority rabble, they consisted of well-respected members of the Haslemere community and were representative of the views of the majority of Haslemere residents, whatever Steven Renshaw might tell you.
  • One of the main reasons for their objection is the high-handed way in which these proposals were first introduced, their ill-thought out nature in not considering the potential knock-on effects and the way in which the so-called consultation was carried out before the proposals were published.  The latter consisted of ‘secret’  or ‘private’ meetings with Steven Renshaw in which he either wouldn’t allow minutes to be taken or wouldn’t allow those who attended to see any minutes that were taken.
  • I have submitted two written questions to the Committee about parking and in neither case have they answered the question I asked even when I have followed it up.  I believe it is because they haven’t had an answer – in the first case I asked about the costs of enforcement and in the second about the risk assessment for disadvantaged people.  This is entirely consistent with the lack of evidence they have about the effect of charging on churn and exactly who parks where and where they come from in the affected roads.  It is woefully incompetent.
  • Some of the behavior at the meeting before the announcement was made about Pay & Display could be considered to be unnecessarily rowdy however, in the context of the behavior of the member for Surrey throughout this process, it is not surprising people did not feel that they had been heard.
  • On top of this the Officers Report was inaccurate and biased.  The people who spoke up and were ejected in the main discussion were only speaking up to highlight inaccuracies in the report.
  • Pat Frost claimed that, in holding the meeting on March 6th, she had listened to us but this meeting would not have taken place if she had not been told to have it.  Her comment that ‘it is a shame for the officers that they have lost the fruits of their labours’ does nothing to suggest she had any sympathy for our views.  Indeed, when Carole Cockburn suggested that there was so much dissatisfaction with the Officers Report that it would surely be more sensible to defer everything until June (not just some of the proposals as was being done), she was slapped down by Mrs Frost who said ‘no, I want to get through as much as possible’, this with no reference to her Committee whatsoever.
  • The word Committee is laughable – some of the councillors present have openly admitted that they would not be giving a view, as Haslemere was not in their area, so why are they there at all?  To have them nodding through decisions to which they have given no thought and they consider not to be their business is a joke. It was obvious to the audience that the decisions were being made by Steve Renshaw and Pat Frost alone.
  • With Pay & Display gone, some of these decisions involved making things up as they went along.  The moment that sums up the whole meeting for me though, was when Pat Frost asked David Curl what restrictions there would be on a particular road if there was no Pay & Display.  He looked blank for a moment then said ‘probably a 1hr restriction’ and the Committee nodded it through!

Haslemere people have put a huge amount of time and effort into fighting these proposals.  What makes us angry is that it shouldn’t have been necessary. We shudder to think what would have happened if we weren’t the highly motivated people we are, who really care about Haslemere, and had left it in the hands of a couple of deluded politicians .

Yours sincerely

 

Julianne Evans

President, Haslemere Chamber of Trade

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From: JL Nobbs [mailto: removed] Sent: 22 March 2012 3:42 PM
To: editor@haslemereparking.com
Subject: letter to David hodge and jeremy Hunt

 

1 comment for “Please see attached letter sent to David Hodge (@SurreyCouncil) & @Jeremy_Hunt

  1. Dangermouse
    27/03/2012 at 19:24

    With additional reference to the articles ‘No Democracy at Surrey Council’ and ‘Councillor Renshaw … shares the Committee’s view of the people of Haslemere’, I would like to add a few comments.
    It is clear that, as has been the case almost nationwide, the “elected representatives” of our councils yet again seek to pursue their own interests and goals with willful disregard to anyone else’s needs or concerns.
    Surely “Public Meeting” and “Meeting held in public” are only differences in syntax. The point is to see democracy in action, to observe that the views and needs of the voting majority are taken into account and acted on accordingly. If it can be seen that there is massive local opposition to a specific point, then surely the representatives are duty-bound to stop whatever the action is with immediate effect and conduct a transparent and proper investigation into the reason for such level of feelings, not to simply seek to silence the naysayers with off-handed derision and to continue regardless.
    Do these councils feel that they are above everyone else and can do whatever their whims call for? Their role is to represent the whole of the area that they were voted in by, be that a small ward or an entire county, however it seems that those groups are the ones that they do their level best to alienate and anger at every turn.

    A call to all those in local government:

    *Make the plans public before even considering making action plans or rulings
    *CONSULT with the affected groups in an open, fair and transparent way
    *Be honest in your comments and statements, and if you have a conflict of interest in a particular area, make it known and exempt yourself from the whole process instead of wasting everyone’s time
    *give everyone who might be affected a fair chance to voice their needs and views BEFORE announcing your intention to ride roughshod over them.

    If you don’t act fairly, don’t be surprised when the returning officer doesn’t read your name out as the winner next time around. (Although we are rarely faced with a “choice” in actual fact, more like which do we despise the least…)

    Oh how I wish we had genuine democracy.

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