Well, we had a really good gathering at our Party meeting on 14th March, some new, some old faces, which was brilliant given that we need to ramp up our campaigning through April. It is looking like we will be standing in Camp Hill (Barry Goss) and Wembrook (Terry Freeman), unless we get anyone else willing to fight the cause in the next week or so.
Popular opinion, well other parties, reckon that we will be lucky to get a few hundred votes the first time around, which will not help anyone. We have to believe that we can get the residents behind us for the right reasons and really upset the apple cart. In fact just a couple of seats in the council house might be enough to hold the balance of power, how amazing would that be!
We received our Candidate packs at the Council meeting for Candidate & Agents on 20th March, and have since had our Candidate forms signed up by 10 residents in each ward, so thanks for that. Alan Franks the MD is the Returning Officer, for the last time it seems, given the recent announcement that he is leaving in June.
I took time to drop in on the Borough Plan Stage 2 Hearing, for a few days and it was great to see the various resident action groups putting up staunch cases to defend the green belt and oppose other developments, given major infrastructure concerns. The most worrying thing for me was the discussion about the Woodlands proposals.
This is such a high profile and major issue, but Warwickshire County Council had still not completed the required highways modelling work, how long do they want? This appeared to be `new` news to Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, as well as appearing to take the Inspector by surprise.
The point is, if the NABBC and WCC cannot be joined up on something as critical as this, what is the likelihood that infrastructure considerations are being correctly considered for the rest of the gargantuan plan? It proved a tipping point for me, so I forwarded a letter to the Hearing Inspector requesting that he implements a review to ensure 1) that responsibilities and accountabilities for delivering the Borough Plan are clear and 2) that our council have the right resource and capability so that they are not over-run by the building developers. I understand this has been passed to the council, for due consideration.
The Borough Plan Stage 2 Hearing closed this week, so we await the outcome in the next few weeks.
Customer Complaint – Nothing can be done?
I also submitted another Customer Complaint to the council, relating to the 2018 Budget process, raising it to the next level (stage 2). However, in my darker moments I am thinking all this takes time and it will probably be another 2 or 3 months before it can be taken to the Ombudsman for independent review. By then this will all be very old news, overtaken and swamped by more uproar and discontent, as the council relentlessly ploughs on, dragging residents along, kicking and screaming. Nothing can be done? No surrender!