New Homes Bonus petition update – residents’ meeting refused by Cllr Turrell

An update on my correspondence with Council Leader and Mile End Councillor Anne Turrell, regarding the petition to give Mile End and Braiswick residents a say on how New Homes Bonus Money is spent in our area.

1. Cllr Anne Turrell to Ben Locker (cc’d to Cllr Goss and Myland Community Council Chair, Cllr Peter Hewitt – 3 April 2014)

Hi Ben

Thank you for your e mail.

I often speak bad Spanish so I know the feeling not being sure you have said what you mean to say!!

If the residents you mention in your e mail also have questions they can like you send me an e mail and I will respond to them.

The meeting I offered you was a one to one between a resident and Leader. It was offered to you as I do with any resident who has lots of questions that need factual answers. I do this all the time as Leader as it the best way to help residents ask follow on questions, understand how things work at a Council and what Councils can and can’t do.

As we are coming to the time of the year when elections are upon us because the Council has elections there are electoral rules that I have to follow in my role as Leader. That date is fast approaching it is 6 weeks before the elections this year due to European Elections and you are a candidate in the Local Elections election.

I thought this would be a simple case of you a resident meeting the Leader fairly quickly but that doesn’t appear to be the case you seem to want to make this into something bigger.

I will pass your original e mail to an appropriate officer at the Council for an answer.

After the elections if you still want to meet we can get a date in the diary now as my diary is very full and it is not always easy to fit meetings in. If you would like that please let me know and I will ask my PA to find a suitable date.

Meanwhile I will consider with Cabinet something you said – namely having a Meet the Leader and or Cabinet session for residents. I know other Councils have tried this so I will find out whether they actually worked. I have done something similar with the Gazette, the Gazette asked readers for questions and I answered them.

I will await your response with regard to a meeting after the elections.

Regards

Anne

2. Ben Locker to Cllr Anne Turrell (cc’d to Borough Cllr Goss and Community Cllr Hewitt – 3 April 2014)

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your email. Again, sorry for the delay in replying. I wasn’t speaking bad French this time, but giving a talk in Oxford.

I was keen to bring along a small number of residents as they have worked with me on this campaign. If that’s not possible, it’s not possible – but it is disappointing.

I was unaware of any rule that prevented you from meeting a candidate during the election period. Mind you, I have yet to register as a one – though I am happy to confirm I will again be putting myself forward as the Conservative candidate for Mile End in the local elections. I would certainly enjoy putting forward my arguments about the New Homes Bonus in the council chamber!

Thank you also for passing on my email to the relevant officer. I will look forward to their response.

I’m very happy to meet after the elections. When they are over, are you willing to meet with the small group of residents I mentioned? Surely it would take less of your time than a series of individual meetings? If not, then I will meet you one-to-one.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention a Meet the Leader session or a Cabinet session for residents. What I’m hoping for in the short to medium term is proper consultation with residents on how to allocate at least some of the NHB money for our area. People in Mile End and Braiswick have a wealth of ideas for our community – it would be great to give them a voice and help shape the area’s future from the grass roots.

Kindest wishes,

Ben

I’ll keep you posted…

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