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Come and Ask us Questions

December 13, 2006 5:26 PM
Questioner

Liberal Democrats believe residents should be able to ask questions at council meetings

Your Lib Dem councillors submitted a "motion" to council on 12th December which, if successful, would allow residents to ask questions at all council meetings. The full debate will take place at the Strategy & Resources Committee meeting on January 30th

This would be the first time residents have been allowed to ask questions on any subject within the remit of the Committee concerned, or at meetings of the full council. At present, members of the public can only address a committee on a subject which is already on the agenda of that meeting, but they can't ask questions. Cllr Jonathan Lees, who proposed the change, said "it's always been left to the Lib Dems to open up this council so that local residents can participate more fully. Now we want to build on what we've achieved so far. It's too limiting to rule that residents can only deliver a speech on items already on an agenda"

Cllr Julie Morris, seconding the motion to council, added "Take the case of someone who has put up with having no street sign for six months. They should be able to question councillors who sit on the Environment Committee about that, shouldn't they?"

Other local authorities operate a far more open system of questions. The Lib Dems are concerned that Epsom & Ewell is once again backward in coming forward on public participation. They cite Mole Valley, where members of the public can view meetings online. Cllr Lees added "Epsom & Ewell are rather behind the times in this area, but we won't give up trying to bring this council into the modern age".