Calls for Cotswold District Council's cabinet to hold meetings outside Cirencester have been rejected by leader Cllr Lynden Stowe
CALLS for meetings of Cotswold District Council 's Conservative-run cabinet to be held outside Cirencester have been dismissed.
At last week's meeting of the cabinet, Liberal Democrat campaigner Danny Loveridge, who lives in Mickleton, near Chipping Campden, argued that residents across the Cotswolds felt disconnected from the decision-making of the cabinet.
He asked cabinet leader Cllr Lynden Stowe (Con, Campden-Vale) to support the idea of holding meetings elsewhere in the region.
Cllr Stowe, who also lives in Mickleton, and travels more than 30 miles to Cirencester to attend council meetings, said he was disappointed by claims that Cotswold residents did not have faith in councillors or officers.
Adding that all council meetings are held in public so residents were able to attend and scrutinise decision-making process, he explained the issue had been debated in the past, and the conclusion had been that the council's Cirencester offices were the most appropriate place to hold meetings.
“Given past experience, it has been concluded that attendance is more likely to be based on the business to be transacted rather than the venue or time of the meeting,” he added.
Responding, Mr Loveridge disagreed with Cllr Stowe's arguments.
“I'm disappointed by the response, especially as many members of the public have expressed interest in attending meetings outside Cirencester,” he said “Attendance at current meetings is not an indication of public interest,” he continued, explaining that many residents are unable to attend due to work commitments or travel costs.
“With dedication and a determination to strengthen local democracy my suggestion is a practical one - moving cabinet meetings around the district and supporting a new, renewed push for public participation would go some way to solve these problems.
“Bearing this in mind, what price does the leader put on democracy?”
Cllr Stowe reiterated his point that there were no plans to hold council meetings outside Cirencester.