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Wokingham Lib-Dems urge Tories to stop Secrecy and consult the Public properly

January 20, 2009 12:00 PM

Following the shock discovery that Tory-controlled Wokingham Borough Council had bid for Government money to close Emmbrook School and build a new secondary school in Arborfield, Wokingham Liberal Democrat councillors urged the Tory administration at the Council to stop making decisions in secret.

Councillor Stephen Conway (Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Councillor Group and councillor for Twyford ward) said:

"The Liberal Democrats have called on the ruling Tories to engage the public in open debate and to consult in a meaningful way before making such decisions. Consultation does not mean making a decision and then asking people what they think of it, it means listening to what people want and what they have to say, and then taking it on board.

"The current Leader of the Council, Tory Councillor David Lee, announced in October 'the start of a more open policy of working', but we have not seen much evidence of change so far.

"At the Wokingham Borough Council meeting on Tuesday (13th January) the Liberal Democrats told the Council that there is a better way. The Council needs to bring in our residents at the earliest possible time, BEFORE decisions have been reached by the Executive, so that our residents can help shape the decisions. This is a far cry from simply allowing people to comment on the details of how decisions already made are to be implemented.

"At the moment, our residents feel powerless to influence what happens in their communities. To restore public confidence, the Council MUST bring them into the decision-making process so that their voices are heard. There is a wide gap between the Liberal Democrat understanding of proper consultation and the Conservative approach. It's time to narrow the gap, and end the secrecy."