Yet again we are faced with Dacorum Borough Council making decisions about our public services without listening to our community. The latest move involves moving the athletics track from Jarman Fields to a park site in Grovehill without taking full account of the wishes of our communities or the people who use these facilities.
Having ‘outsourced’ or sold off the management of our publicly run leisure facilities to a private company they are now involved in selling off the Jarman Park land and reducing our green and accessible spaces in Grovehill. One wonders what developers will make of the land and how truly affordable any housing built on the land will be for our young families. We note that only 14 council houses have been built over the past year.
The Conservatives continue with their ideology of selling off public assets despite warning signs nationally that this is a dangerous game with whole councils (including Conservative led) either bankrupt or on the cusp of being so.
Of increasing concern is the lack of transparency and accountability that this Conservative led council chooses to conduct itself with. It is becoming increasingly clear there is a democratic deficit when almost all councillors are Conservative. It falls on a handful of Liberal Democrats and Labour to try to hold them to account and give local people a real voice. Decisions are made by the small and exclusive cabinet and the Tory councillors are ‘whipped’ into voting these decisions through. Much of the information is questionably categorised as “commercially sensitive” to maintain a shroud of secrecy from the public.
It is true that some matters are sent to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as an apparent check and balance to the above process. On this occasion there are grave concerns that this committee have not been given the full facts. Furthermore, it is apparent that the information has been skewed to unfairly weight the councils decision. Unsurprisingly, this committee is composed almost entirely of Conservative councillors.
This is just one example of how this council rides roughshod over the public’s wishes.
It’s time for change.
The Housing & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be meeting on Wed 10th October at 7.30 pm at The Forum If you would like to attend