More Power to Cllr Haslam

JUDGING by the e-mails and letters, many people believe we are wrong to berate Cllr Haslam and the way he conducts the Planning Committee meetings.

One such person is veteran ex Tory councillor, Ray Andrews.

Here is Ray’s blog on the matter:

Personally, I don’t know this CEO, but if he is highly respected , I hope his respect is centered around the tax-payers of the borough and the service or lack of it that we get from his highly paid officers.

People should be reminded that the only part of democracy that is left to us in this country, and that is eroding fast, is our locally
elected councillors. After all a lot of those in Westminster are hardly shining examples. Good or bad our councillors speak for us
and I happen to believe that members have a bigger duty to act on our behalf than they have to toady up to well paid officers, some of whom think they have a god given right to impose their will on us, the electorate.

When you mention planning, it is members who make decisions. Officers prepare the cases, and also make recommendations as to how the applications should be treated. After that their job is done unless members ask specific questions. Everything else is in the report. What officers should not do is try to run the meeting in place of the chairman.

In the past some weak chairmen have allowed Mrs.Esplen (Senior Planning Officer) to take over the planning committee as well as the department. That is totally wrong. And if the current chairman is trying to reverse that process, so that members can decide without being harried by this woman then so much the better. It can’t be easy and he should be congratulated.

Perhaps somene should remind the council’s solicitor of the status of the planning committee compared to his own. Anyway don’t you think that they get together to work out what to do if a councillor gets awkward. and if they can discredit them it makes the job easier.

Mrs. Esplen should look to her laurels before she starts making a bid to silence the chairman. Her record of accuracy when it comes to advising the committee leaves a lot to be desired. As recently as the September meeting she (allegedly) gave the committee
a whole lot of very dubious information by way of answers to members.

Perhaps, there will be a second episode to that one. I just hope that some of the members are looking closely into some of her
answers.

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