BRENTWOOD: "U-turn" on cabinet proposals

October 9, 2008 1:28 PM
By Brentwood Gazette reporter in www.thisisessex.com

BRENTWOOD council will not change the way it makes decisions, following an outcry from local residents.

Ruling Conservatives had proposed the council change to an executive, or cabinet, style of decision-making, meaning a select few councillors would have the power to make choices in certain policy areas, such as leisure.

However, the council was forced to carry out a consultation before making a choice, and of the 1,068 residents who responded, two-thirds voted against a change.

Following the results, at a full council meeting last night, leader of the council Cllr Brandon Lewis instead proposed that the council continued to operate its current committee system, effectively shelving the original plans.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Lewis said: "The whole point of our consultations is to gauge public opinion and take it into account when decisions are being made.

"If we didn't intend to listen to residents, we wouldn't have asked the question.

"I am proud to say that this is a prime example of residents' ability to affect decisions made locally and it goes to show that if you get involved and take the time to respond to our consultations, you really can make a difference."

However, opposition Lib Dem leader Cllr David Kendall branded the decision a "U-turn" and a "back-track".

See next week's Gazette for more reaction.