Residents forum set up due to concerns over how town council operates

PUBLISHED: 16:03 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 22 December 2018

Mayor of Swaffham Colin Houghton has responded to concerns over the town council after a residents forum was set up. Picture: Ian Burt

Mayor of Swaffham Colin Houghton has responded to concerns over the town council after a residents forum was set up. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Concerns that a town council is not acting in the best interests of its community has led to a forum of residents being created.

The Swaffham Residents Forum, set up by Graham Edwards, has particular worries over the possibility of Swaffham Town Council applying for a Public Works Loan Board loan of up to £6 million to build 51 homes on Days Field.

Mr Edwards said he has had around 100 people contact him offering their support, including an ex mayor and former town councillors, and that several concerns over how the council currently operates have emerged.

He said: “Following meetings and numerous contacts a few of us have decided to form a Forum of Swaffham Residents to try and stop the seemingly ill advised proposal to become property developers.

“However, from this emerged many other conversations about what our council and our councillors are doing day to day.

“I started contacting people I know. We got together and thought we would talk about this. We all decided to take this on and that’s how it came about.

“I expected a few people but to be honest I have had replies from all sorts of people.”

Other aims of the group include promoting greater democracy and openness within the council, developing a collective community voice, improving ways for the community and town council to work together and helping those who are seeking to be elected to the town council.

Mr Edwards added: “What we want is for the council to change. We want to see the minutes of meetings to be reduced and to be published sooner.

“I want to see checks and balances. We want to promote greater democracy and openness, including a substantial reduction in below the line meetings.”

Mayor of Swaffham Colin Houghton responded to the forum’s concerns and said: “We live in a democracy and we have councillors elected by the town’s people. We have no problem with working with them.

“The thing that concerns me is that this group is making allegations but are not getting their facts correct. We just hope they will be responsible about this.

“We still feel that the Days Field plans are a possibility but no decision has been made yet.”

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