RBWM Extraordinary meeting, Council – Tuesday 29th June 2021

On Tuesday evening we had our first face to face council meeting since COVID moved us all onto Zoom. While it’s good to meet in person, I think I prefer the Zoom format when everyone is at home as you get to see who says what far more clearly but we are where we are… it’s all to do with the laws of the land and how they are worded.

Being one of the few Councillors that actually seems to have something to say, I thought I would publish my contributions below with links to the relevant documents so that residents can see the effort that goes in.

I wish Full Council was more of a debate with questions going back and forth but sadly it’s not. O&S is the place for that but as you’ll read, that is really not working.

As you can see from the video, most of the Tories say absolutely nothing, they are simply there to vote through items.

4. Planning Panels

Getting back to two is a good start.

Having just one panel may save a few pounds but implying multiple panels increase the “risk of making indefensible and unsound decisions” is offensive.

Watching a planning meeting the other day, 5 conservatives were persuaded to challenge the officers decision, the 2 ward councillors on the coattails of their leader. Thankfully the panel were not compromised into making an indefensible or unsound decision, although 2 panel members did follow the leader and not the NPPF or officer guidance.

So I would suggest to you, having one panel increases the risk of the panel being manipulated by a totalitarian state.

While having more panels makes for a much more demoncratic process.

I’m heartened to hear that Parish & Town Council representatives are to be given a little more time. If I had my way, Parish Councillors would make up the panels and we’d have 20 across RBWM so as to better protect the interests of local residents.

Thank you

5. WNP

Brilliant

Already used it to get a planning application for a 5G Mast refused

A planning document that is worth its weight in gold and is already serving residents

Thank you

6. Yep – admin

7i. Housing

Described as “Ladders of opportunity”… 

Yeah, ladders of opportunity provided by the snakes of capitalism.

My first house was 27k and bought with a 5k deposit provided through inheritance from a great uncle… a really great uncle… today our kids need more like 150k… not realistic for most.

I’d urge this council to BUILD SOME COUNCIL HOUSES and don’t give them away to housing associations… keep them and build more so that local people can stay local.

I will propose at the right time  that AL21’s 180 affordable homes are made up of 2/3rds COUNCIL homes, owned and run by RBWM… but that’s for a future meeting.

Thank you.

7ii Yep – admin

7iii O&S Reports

It is painfully obvious that Overview & Scrutiny doesn’t work in its current format

Main reason is because the Conservatives hate it

Anything that slows down policy dictates from central Government is a threat

It’s real purpose completely ignored in favour of ticking a box to say it went to O&S

THREE EXAMPLES

  1. New Chair for 2020

Cllr Singh democratically voted in as Chair last year… Tories immediately look to a vote of NO CONFIDENCE even changing the constitution on a whim to vote out Vice Chairs!

That’s not democracy but this broken system makes it possible.

  1. The Ancient Datchet Tree

I asked for O&S to discuss the tree situation but apparently that’s not possible.

It is not possible for Overview & SCRUTINY to discuss why the system is broken, favouring an insurance company instead of an ancient tree that actually does offset carbon and produce oxygen. Unlike the 10,000 trees planted to great fanfare by the Tories last year!

How upside down and back to front is that?

  1. 5G conversation

Months ago I asked for a debate on 5G, this still hasn’t happened but nearly 30 applications for 5G Masts have come in during COVID with most simply sailing through planning.

At the last Infrastructure O&S there was suppose to be an item on Street Lighting on the agenda but it got pulled last minute because I asked questions around the potential risks to residents of the radar effect of the 5G phased collimated beam but this was addressed with a “we don’t know” and pulled. 

RBWM Tories don’t want the 5G debate… they think by having it as part of the Climate policy that it makes it all nice and green! When in fact it uses more than 10x, 20x the electricity but hey, best not go there… Boris has it on his agenda as a must do for Klaus and so that’s that.

But they do want Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

LTNs would have walked into everyday life in the New Year had there not been Independent opposition to ask the questions, bring it to the residents attention and cause a U-TURN.

Brought to Communities O&S, the Lead member promised if residents didn’t want them, they would not happen. Result… they didn’t and he was as good as his word… 

Now, with a change of name and a fresh consultation, they are being brought back and looking to make significant changes to the lives of residents.

And to be honest, I’m cool with fewer idiots in cars on the road but if this is the game plan, can it please be reflected in the new housing estates being built in RBWM?

The 450 houses on AL21 need to be eco-friendly, no cars, perfect models of the future… 

Thing is, would Wates be happy with this? Is this optimising their profits? Would residents buy?

Or do we need to wait for 2040, when the UK Gov will be chasing around looking for ways to push back on the Climate Change agenda date of 2050, for councils to be brave enough to challenge builders and set very high standards?

Do we make it easy for the builders and simply force change on existing estates when builders are long gone? Surely that would be double standards?

I’m hoping, after my 121 with Wates this week, proposing the above, to see some significant changes to the plans they have been schmoozing through. To be fair, they seem like they are actually listening to residents’ concerns and mitigating any risk to plans being turned down. 

Perhaps the model needs to be… if a builder will not add the LTN to their new application then it cannot be enforced on existing estates within a 5 mile radius.

Anyway, back to the topic… O&S is a waste of everyone’s time and the administration knows it.

Thank you.

Jon Davey

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