Welsh Liberal Democrat councillors on Powys County Council have expressed their deep disappointment at the Council Leader’s rejection of their request that the council members’ seminar on changes to the renewable energy section of the draft Powys Local Development Plan (LDP), to be held on the 10th April, be held in public and not in closed session.
The Group had made the proposal jointly to both the Council leader and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Tony Thomas, who has responsibility for the LDP process.
Reacting to the decision, Group Leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt said:-
“The Leader of Council, Cllr Barry Thomas, refused our request on the grounds that he was advised by the council’s Chief Legal Officer that the seminar cannot be held in public because we will be in the run-up to the local elections, the period known as ‘purdah’.”
“Apparently the Chief Legal Officer is concerned that the seminar will be used by council members standing for election again and new candidates as a platform to electioneer if the seminar is held in public. It will not even be broadcast live on the web.”
“Although this is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity for the council to restore some trust in the LDP process, I have been assured that the information on the changes to the LDP that council members will receive at the seminar will be available on the council’s website for the public to view.”
“I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies,” Cllr Gibson-Watt concluded.
Date - 03/03/17