On Monday 19th October, Cherwell District Council took just 16 minutes to deny the request to reinstate West Adderbury Parish Council.
During that sixteen minutes, the CGR Working Group presented its report to the full Council, but gave no further information or justification for its recommendation. Three members of the Working Group spoke, but simply repeated comments from their written report.
Only one other Council member, Andrew McHugh, who was not on the working group, had anything to say on the subject of the CGR. In an astonishing outburst, Councillor McHugh suggested that the second stage of the CGR should be scrapped because it was a waste of everyone’s time and money.
See Councillor McHugh’s statement in the video below.
Worringly, Councillor McHugh said he would not be “voting for the CGR” when it has in fact been in progress for 6 months. He had to be told by the Chairman of the Working Group that it was not a legal option to abandon the CGR.
The Chairman also had to rebuke Councillor McHugh for suggesting that the CGR petition was nothing but a rehash of the contentious Milton Road project. The Chairman pointed out that many other issues had been raised by the consultees and that development had formed no part of the Working Group’s deliberation.
Since Councillor McHugh was the only non-Working Group member to speak, we have no idea whether gross misunderstanding of the process is shared by other Councillors.
We are left with the impression that the full Council does not care about this issue enough to properly debate it, but has rubber-stamped the working group’s report with no further explanation or discussion.
That impression is deepened by noting that a previous agenda item on badger culling was vigorously debated by the Council for over 70 minutes. Cherwell does not own land on which culling could take place and the law already allows landowners to withhold permission. It is a mystery why Councillors felt the need to debate an issue which by their own admission was of symbolic significance only.
It is regrettable that the CGR process was not treated with same level of seriousness by the full Council.
See the WHOLE 16 minute non-debate below:
It is appalling that Cherwell DC took 70 minutes of full debate to address an issue which is not even part of its remit, but only 16 minutes to discuss the democratic future of an entire village. We expect this will not be the end of the matter.