Ward Councillor Representation to Buckfastleigh Town Council

Email from Councillor Charlie Dennis to Buckfastleigh Town Council dated 12th July 2017:-

I would be grateful if this e-mail could be read out at item four on your agenda.

“Good evening Chairman and Councillors,

I notice that agenda item four refers to District Councillors reports.

It seems to me that Buckfastleigh Town Council is under the impression that any District Councillor is duty bound to attend parish meetings.

After discussions with the Head of Democratic Services at Teignbridge District Council, you may be interested to know that this is not the case at all, and, it is an individual’s Councillors choice whether or not to attend meetings, you are therefore wrong to assume that there will be a District or County Councillor at every meeting., also as it is not mandatory to attend these meetings, no apologies are required.

My work as a District Councillor continues within my ward, and I am contacted on a regular basis by residents of Buckfastleigh, also I am proud to say that I am able to assist them in resolving their problems, which vary from, housing, financial and environmental problems, you will also understand that this is done on a confidential basis.

Therefore, Chairman, I take exception to the agenda item and its insinuation that District Councillors are not doing their best as it is not part of our remit to give you updates in the first place.” 

Charlie Dennis.

Vice Chairman, Teignbridge District Council

Ward Member for Ashburton and Buckfastleigh.

Response from Buckfastleigh Town Council:-

“Thank you for your email received on 12 July 2017 which was read out at the July Town Council meeting by the Chair, Cllr Pam Barrett as requested.

The Council would respond to your comments as follows:-

  • Buckfastleigh Town Council is aware that it is not mandatory to have representation at our meetings from our County and District representatives, but as a matter of courtesy the Council has continued for many years to maintain this as a standing agenda item to give our Ward Members the opportunity to communicate useful information.
  • This is common practice nationally and we are aware that you regularly attend Ashburton Town Council not only in your capacity as a Town Councillor, but also as Vice Chair of Teignbridge District Council. Unfortunately, you have chosen not to attend any Town Council meeting in Buckfastleigh since February 2016 and during this time you have missed the opportunity to engage and provide feedback, not only with the Town Council, but also the public who regularly attend.
  • If we have little or no representation from our elected Ward Councillors we are subsequently excluded from the opportunity to influence decisions at District and County level or are not able to give an informed response when we are consulted due to lack of information.
  • We would hope that as a District Councillor that you would wish to engage with the community you have been elected to serve which includes the Town Council. We would point out that we value Councillor John Nutley’s attendance and will continue to extend an open invitation to both you and Councillor Stuart Barker.”

Judith Hart

Buckfastleigh Town Clerk