Following the publication of a press release from North Devon District Council, Councillor Brian Greenslade (Barnstaple - Pilton Ward) has accused the Tory run executive of gagging councillors, as well a wasting £25,000 on unnecessary consultants.
Comments made by Cllr Greenslade and fellow Lib Dem ward councillor Mair Manuel had not been included in the statement as the views expressed did not support those of the executive.
Cllr. Greenslade emailed Cllr. Des Brailey s follows:
I refer to the Council press release about Pilton Park set out below.
While Mair and I as the ward members were offered the opportunity to quote I understand that you ruled that our comments should be excluded as they did not support the view of your Executive. This is outrageous and henceforth clearly you have cancelled democracy at NDC. Surely the Council Press Office should serve the whole Council not just the Administration. To do otherwise puts the Officers in a difficult position.
I would also raise with you the way your Administration is spending money on consultants.
My understanding is that there has been no public consultation at all with the community about proposals to divert the River Yeo through Pilton Park. I think it
Is only due to my insistence at the Focus Groups that a representative of the Environment Agency will be present at the consultation events in Pilton Park at the end of July. I and my colleagues who represent Pilton and Yeo Valley Wards believe that the very fullest consultation with the public over this should come first. I can assure you previous press reports about this diversion have caused concern among residents of Fair View, Yeo Vale, who have previously suffered flooding and have seen the benefits of Pilton Park as a flood storage area. The possible loss of this is causing concern.
I also understand that in any event at this time a funding package for diverting the River Yeo through Pilton Park is not in place so it would not happen anytime soon in any case.
So why with the lack of public consultation about diverting the river course, and no funding package in place, are we spending money on another consultancy, £25,000?, to advise on the layout of the Park when we are by no means certain that the river course will be changed? It is putting the cart before the horse and a waste of money.
Therefore I would urge you to cancel this consultancy about the park layout. By using sec 106 monies several improvements to Pilton Park and Rotary Gardens have already happened. The best consultants we have had are our own Officers like Mike Jones and the public.
The use of consultants by NDC has got out of hand!