One of the benefits of my position as Mayor is the ability to network with councillors from other councils and to see how they organise things. One of the perennial problems of all councils is the lack of involvement of our public in what we do. There is not one member of the council that does not want public participation but sadly we do not get many people at our meetings. We are not alone. Other councils have tried various methods in addition to the traditional surgeries. One even tried holding it down the pub with poor results. So we are now exploring other methods and this Saturday we are going out to meet the public. Waitrose have kindly allowed us to set up shop in their entrance. We look forward to meeting as many people as possible.
The armed forces ceremony was well attended on Saturday on the Church green and we were pleased to see our MP, Nadhim there. It was a good opportunity after the ceremony to discuss pressing issues with him. We mentioned that we had attended the second Alimore Lane planning meeting and were concerned immediately over what we were presented with. Most relevant heads of department (the officers) were there and were being allowed to make a short presentation. What this was to cover we can only guess at but our interpretation was it was designed to warn the committee about the implications of a further rejection. There was a document presented that was designed to dismiss the reasons for rejection of the Northern scheme and a 37 page report from the inspector on a planning application at Shipston. This scheme was rejected by the inspector and the implication was that if the Southern scheme was rejected by planning then it would be accepted by the inspector. However the planning committee decided that there was insufficient time to thoroughly understand the implications and the meeting was deferred. As it happens the emerging core strategy is due for publication on the 5th July and although only out for consultation it is closer to its final form. We also discussed the neighbourhood plan. Following the re-definition of the boundaries we are re-launching the plan and information will be available on Saturday morning so please do come along and see us.
Finally I attended the Warwick District Council civic service at St Nicholas church, Kennilworth, on Sunday. It was another opportunity to meet different people and visit different communities.