Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wrexham Council stands accused of ignoring protest groups

From Today's Leader:
A ROW has erupted over the way Wrexham Council treats campaigning members of the public.
Cllr Arfon Jones, who represents Plaid Cymru, has accused the local authority of ignoring protesters who are trying to save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre from closure.
However council leader Neil Rogers has rejected Cllr Jones’ comments and challenged him to submit an alternative budget making the necessary financial savings.
Cllr Jones said: “The Save Plas Madoc campaign group has tried and tried to have their voices heard, only to be blocked at every step of the way by this administration and its officers.
“They were prevented in asking questions at January’s executive board, despite complying with the constitution.
“They emailed questions to senior officers more than a fortnight ago and are still awaiting a reply.
“Next week members of the public will be barred from a workshop for members that will discuss the leisure review and more specifically the revelations of the haphazard way that the consultants have undertook the review.”
Cllr Jones added: “We appreciate savings have to be made and the administration has chosen to cut frontline services rather than the bureaucracy that is Wrexham Council. That was their decision and they should have the courage to face the public to justify that decision.
“The taxpaying public is not the enemy and the authority should not be circling the wagons to prevent them getting access to the democratic process.”
However in response Labour Cllr Rogers said: “I refute the allegation that Wrexham Council is defensive in the face of intense public criticism.
“Cllr Jones is fully aware of a discussion which took place with members, which he was present at, with the Sports Consultancy and I would ask him to revisit the discussion at this meeting.
“Cllr Jones also accuses the council of trying to block the Save Plas Madoc campaign at every stage when we have already extended the consultation end date to January 31 to allow as many people as possible to make their views known to us.
“We have not prevented questions being asked. This item will be discussed at the next meeting of executive board on February 11 and any member or member of the public can submit questions to be asked at that meeting.
“Cllr Jones also knows only too well that workshops are confidential and members will be discussing the consultants’ report only.
“He further goes on to say he appreciates savings have to be made and in light of these comments I offer him the opportunity to submit an alternative budget to make the savings necessary.”

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