A statement from Councillor Hannaford-Dobson regarding the story 'Future mayor raises hackles by suggesting electorate 'don't understand' enough to vote at Area Board'
At the Area Board meeting on Monday, there was a presentation by a Wiltshire Council Officer on the setting up of a Campus facility in Marlborough. Following the presentation the Chairman asked the meeting to make a decision on the setting up of a Community committee (C.O.B.) to proceed to the next stage.
I stated at the meeting that I believed that a vote at this stage was premature because the majority of Parish Councils that would be involved in such a scheme were not present, and secondly that there were perhaps members of the public present invited to vote, including young people some from Youth Centre who were there to demonstrate their self made apple juice and other young people present to support a grant application, who would have been unaware that the scheme was going to be discussed, would have had no prior knowledge of what was involved in a Campus Scheme and certainly were not being given an opportunity to consider in detail the many possible issues resulting in such a scheme.
I totally refute any allegation that I believe that the public should not be allowed to vote, and am on public record of stating that the views and opinions of all members of the public should always be listened to and considered before councillors proceed with important decisions. (Re: My comments on the recent campaign to renovate Marlborough Town Hall) This is especially true at Area Board Meetings where the views of the whole area is paramount. Unfortunately I believe that the attendance of the meeting on Monday did not fully represent the many groups and Parishes that make up the Marlborough Area Board and therefore it would have been preferable not to take a vote on such an important issue until more feedback from the whole area had been received.
In confirmation of this belief, I was aware of approximately only five Parishes out of a possible sixteen and six community groups (three of which were there to present their grant applications) represented at the meeting.
In conclusion, contrary to any allegation that I objected to certain people voting at the meeting, I felt very strongly that the views of more people from the area should have been considered before any vote was taken.
Signed. Cllr.Marian Hannaford-Dobson