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A 237 day wait and a most unsatisfactory response

March 19, 2013 8:59 PM
Karen Chilvers

Cllr Karen Chilvers

Following on from Cllr Philip Mynott's attempts to get an answer from Tory-controlled Brentwood Council about a matter in his Brentwood North ward, over in Brentwood West Cllr Karen Chilvers had to wait 237 days for a response to a query...only to find that officers had already made the decision for her WITHOUT the benefit of financial information she originally requested.

In June 2012, Cllr Chilvers asked officers to look at a piece of land at the junction of The Mount, Railway Square and Fairfield Road that used to be used by Amstrad and has lain unused for nearly 10 years. With the area short of parking and this adding nothing to the ambience it could solve a parking issue and assist and support local residents and businesses in Kings Road if the council were to convert it into resident or shopper parking - which would bring in much needed revenue to the council. She asked officers to enquire how much the land would cost in order to understand the issue and put forward a proposal, if appropriate.

She waited 237 for an answer (10 is all a councillor should really have to wait) only to get an answer from officers that "we thought about it but there is no budget so we decided not to do anything further".

Cllr Chilvers said:

"I asked for some figures on which to build an analysis to improve a situation in Brentwood West and I have had to wait 8 months to find they didn't do anything.

The Mount parkng"This is astounding, undemocratic and just plain wrong - it is not up to officers to "decide" not to proceed with something. It is my job, as ward councillor to try and improve my ward. but I cannot move things forward unless I get the information from officers.

"What should have happened is that the question should have been asked of Amstrad, it should have come back to me with financial information. Then, I could have weighed up the pros and cons and whether this was of benefit to residents (by consultation) and viable for Brentwood Council. At this point, I could have built a business case for the Asset Panel, discussed it with the chair and proceeded (or not) via the democratic process.

"The fact that there was no budget for this was an irrelevance, because money can always be found if there is a good business case and there are benefits.

"I have now asked again for a financial analysis and an approach to Amstrad but the worrying things are that this shows up the total lack of strategy by the Tories running Brentwood with NO budget for land purchase, the lack of due process being followed by not reverting to ward councillors, the fact that officers have made a decision without any of the full facts being considered and the lack of investment in an area of heavy inhabitance and our shopping districts."