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Castle Point Council shakes up its meetings
10:30pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
A SHAKE-UP is being carried out of neighbourhood meetings in Castle Point to try to encourage more interaction from the public.
Castle Point Council is proposing to change the format of the meetings to make them more flexible in a bid to increase interest.
Themeetings will nowbe run and promoted by ward councillors and led on an informal basis, similar to local council surgeries.
A report by Godfrey Isaacs, councillor responsible for neighbourhoods and safer communities, said recent changes to meetings had “not been effective”.
He said: “It has proved difficult to attract and retain public interest.
“At the annual meeting this year it was agreed to review the arrangements for community engagement. Members recognised current arrangements needed to change and be more flexible.”
The drop-in sessions could be used to stage public debates on major issues such as street lights, flooding and crime.
However, critics have condemned the fact council officers will no longer be required to attend the meetings, meaning residents may have to wait longer for answers to questions.
Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, said: “I think it is a good use for the regeneration shop to try to get residents more enthusiastic about the meetings and to suggest ideas for debate.
“Sometimes, it seems as though the council wants to make these neighbourhood meetings disappear which would be another chunk out of democracy, but I am determined not to let that happen.”
The Hadleigh meeting will take place from 7.30pm at St Barnabas Church, Church Road.
Venues for the other two meetings have yet to be confirmed.
A date is yet to be set for the Canvey meeting.
For details visit www.castle point.gov.uk or call 01268 882200.
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