Your Say: Letters October 25
IN the early 1990s Michael Howard, then Home Secretary, reformed police authorities.
Membership was nine councillors (representing the political balance in the constituent local authorities), three magistrates and five Independents, the latter appointed for a four-year term, after public advertisement, and a rigorous selection procedure.
In West Yorkshire, consultation was principally through 27 Police and Community Fora meeting 3/4 times a year, chaired by Authority members and attended by senior police officers. Accountability was clear. Councillors always reflected the political balance and regularly changed after local elections. The Police and Community Fora were able to call the Authority and the Force to account and influence future priorities.
The Government has decided to replace Police Authorities with Police Commissioners, elected for four years. Unfortunately this has added a party political aspect to policing.
Nominations can be made by independent individuals but not with a level playing field, because the Government has refused to circulate all households with candidates’ details so the public can make an informed vote. This has given an unfair advantage to official party-funded candidates. Independent UNFUNDED individuals, equally well qualified, have been forced to withdraw because of the cost. All very undemocratic!
The initiative by the Melton Times to host Election Hustings for the candidates is both welcome and important. Face to face with the candidates we can assess their ability, qualities and experience for this vital post. Particular questions include:
What previous experience of policing have you had ?
What framework for public consultation will you create?
How will you determine priorities?
What will be your role in relation to the Chief Constable?
Who will monitor your performance?
JOHN HORN OBE
Editor’s note: Mr Horn was an independent member of the West Yorkshire Police Authority for eight years, serving as chair of the Community Consultation Committee.
Health reforms and general practice – what does it mean for Latham House patients?
The Patient Reference Group (PRG) for Latham House Medical Practice is holding a Patients Open Meeting on the evening of Thursday November 1, commencing at 6.30 p.m.
This is an opportunity for the PRG to let patients know what it is doing to represent their needs to the Practice; how Health Service reforms that become effective next April may impact on Latham House and what the PRG is doing to influence the delivery of greater localism in the delivery of community health care in Melton Mowbray.
The meeting will also be an opportunity to update patient views and opinions since the last survey of Latham House patients undertaken earlier this year. Attendees who wish a particular topic to be discussed at the meeting are asked to let the PRG know beforehand – forms are available at Latham House reception desks.
Chairman of Latham House Patient Reference Group
Last month Councillor Mark Barnes, the Melton Borough Councillor for the Somerby Ward, strongly supported the residents of Thorpe Satchville when they successfully opposed the construction of two wind turbines in their area. Three cheers for Councillor Barnes.
Last Thursday the MBC Development Committee considered a planning application to erect a wind turbine on Stygate Lane in the parish of Pickwell and Leesthorpe. A clear majority of the local residents oppose the turbine because of its size in such an exposed position in rural Leicestershire.
The same Councillor Barnes was reluctant to discuss the matter before the meeting. Parishioners and the Parish Council were shocked and angered when Councillor Barnes supported the application at the Development Committee meeting. The application was approved by the narrowest of margins - five votes to four.
No cheers for Councillor Barnes for refusing to talk to his parishioners, for his failure to explain his opposition to one application but support for another, and for ignoring the wishes of a clear majority of the local residents in this area.
When are the next elections for Melton borough councillors? The sooner the better.
Right of reply: Planning legislation requires that ‘each case must be considered on its merits’ and to be approached case-by-case. Each one is different in both nature and impact. The issues were not the same as at Thorpe Satchville - the Pickwell proposal is much smaller, less noisy, further from nearby villages and in a different landscape. It therefore affects its surroundings in a different way and the issues do not apply equally. The law requires planning decisions to be made on the basis of planning policy and other planning issues - they are not taken on the basis of their popularity nor the quantity of objection or support.
Councillors’ obligations on planning matters are to the Borough as a whole not just those immediately affected.
Just 11 residents approached me but none persuaded me it was so bad that it should be refused. We have to find ways of accepting renewable energy for the future of the planet and Government Policy supports it too. This location could accept the turbine without serious harm and would help meet this need.
Cllr Mark Barnes
Blame the bikes
I FEEL I have to write to you after reading the article about Burrough Hill (Historic site at risk, says English Heritage).
First, I have heard that it belongs to Ernest Cooke Trust and not Leicestershire County Council. Also, I take my son to the hill to ride a pony every Sunday and there is no mention of the scores of motorbikes and Land Rovers churning up the bridleways and footpaths. I feel that it is not the cows at fault.
East Hamilton, Leicester
Following on from your great wildlife article, please can I remind those who are celebrating Bonfire Night to have a special lookout for hedgehogs in their unlit bonfires?
It is during autumn that hedgehogs begin to look for places to hibernate and unlit bonfires make an ideal refuge. Bonfire piles are perfect sleeping areas for hedgehogs and every year many get burnt alive. Thank you.
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Weather for Melton
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west