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Let us put our case
3:30pm Thursday 19th April 2012 in Letters
At the March 2012 Great Bedwyn Parish Council (BPC) meeting, I was verbally informed that the BPC considered me and the members of the association I represent to be vexatious. We have been trying to address commuter parking issues which deny reliable access for ourselves, carers and much needed services, to our homes.
Why would a parish council try to exclude the most vulnerable group of elderly and disabled residents from communicating with Claire Perry MP, Wiltshire Council, the area board and the parish council in question? Why would a parish council seek to deny anyone the right to representation?
What heinous crime could warrant a parish council to invoke its three-week-old vexatious complaints policy in excommunicating an already besieged community.
Having been verbally informed, in front of a well attended parish meeting, that we were to be excluded, complete with the details of the exclusion, this attempt of public humiliation and lack of respect continued when the information was made public in the parish minutes and in the parish magazine.
We were not informed ourselves in writing, until March 31, after which the exclusions were slightly toned down from the verbal version. This was 10 days after the submission date for the magazine.
Is this the future of localism? Or is it a return to feudalism? If you dare to challenge a public body, if they do not agree with your opinion or lack the training and skills to understand the specific needs of a minority, is public humiliation at meetings and in local parish press acceptable?
The National Association of Parish Councils website gives guidelines on what to expect from your parish council. It includes how your council can attain Quality Status. Sadly this appears to to have been missed by our council.
Jan Thornton, Secretary, The Knapp Tenants’ Association.