Adderbury Parish Council have once again illustrated how little they care about the views and concerns of West Adderbury residents.
At the Parish Council meeting on 8 September 2020, which was held remotely via Zoom, two members of the West Adderbury Residents’ Association were in attendance to raise issues on behalf of their members. One of these issues was APC’s failure to install the approved flood alleviation scheme on the Milton Road land where football pitches are being developed.
Despite APC’s assurances that Cherwell District Council finds the current drainage scheme “acceptable”, the District Council continue to tell WARA committee members that this is NOT the case and that the District Council has repeatedly asked APC to install the approved, larger scheme.
Since homes in West Adderbury were flooded a few years ago when the field drain under Horn Hill Rd became overwhelmed, and as the drainage scheme installed by APC drains directly into this field drain, some West Adderbury residents quite naturally remain concerned. These residents have asked WARA, as their residents’ association, to raise these concerns at the Parish Council meeting. In particular, these residents wish to understand the situation with regard to insurance, since there is now a known flood risk, as confirmed by the District Council’s qualified drainage engineer.
As a result, in the public questions section of the Parish Council meeting, WARA committee members again raised the issue of the drainage on the Milton Road land. Mrs Diane Bratt, chair of APC, again stated that the District Council found the current scheme acceptable. When it was pointed out to her that this was not what the compliance team at the District Council were saying, Mrs Bratt refused to listen and instead spoke over the WARA committee member.
Incredibly, when the WARA committee member attempted to explain the frustration of West Adderbury residents, Mrs Bratt simply cut the committee member off, ejecting him from the Zoom meeting.
The second WARA committee member chose to leave the meeting shortly afterwards.
How can the Parish Council possibly claim to represent the views of West Adderbury when it refuses to even let the legitimate representatives of West Adderbury speak? It is just outrageous that WARA committee members, who are asked to raise concerns on behalf of WARA members, should be treated with such disrespect and distain.
No doubt Mrs Bratt will argue that she is entitled to refuse to speak with “vexatious complainants”. But surely it is obvious even to Mrs Bratt that an association which represents over 250 residents is likely to have issues to discuss at every Parish Council meeting? And if APC fails to address these issues, then it is perfectly reasonable for WARA to continue to raise them.
WARA is a legitimate organisation with a constitution, a named committee and over 250 members. It is entirely appropriate for WARA committee members to raise concerns on behalf of its members, at the appropriate time and place, i.e. in the public questions section of the Parish Council meeting. For Mrs Bratt to eject WARA committee members from the meeting just because she does not like the issues they have been asked to raise is simply unacceptable.
We are sure that the Community Governance Review committee at Cherwell District Council will see this behaviour by APC as yet further evidence that local democracy can only be restored by reinstating a separate Parish Council for West Adderbury