Consult or resign

Newton Poppleford councillors – stop criticising each other and consult on what the villagers want.

I have watched our parish council make a complete fool of itself over the last months.

Instead of acting on behalf of the villagers they represent, they spend meetings tearing each other apart.

One important meeting stopped after 30 minutes because of legal issues. For six months, nobody would be chair of the council and a chair had to be elected at each meeting.

One councillor avoided all meetings involving the King Alfred Way development.

The latest complaint to the police is only an example of hiding behind closed doors (“Councillor denies any wrongdoing”, Herald, June 14, page 7).

Who complained to the police? How many thousands of pounds will the investigation waste?

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We have lived in the village for nearly seven years and do not remember a parish council election.

Democracy is suffering at a very important time when two large developments are being put forward. Nothing is being negotiated for the benefit of the people that live there.

My wife and I have been made to feel welcome – in return, we have helped the village in many ways.

We have a thriving tennis club, newly refurbished courts, thriving cricket club, two thriving football clubs for youngsters and adults, two well used but not ideal village halls, and a new children’s play area, a playgroup and primary school, and a popular lunch club.

Most of this is in spite of the parish council rather than because of it. There is a very active group of villagers who make Newton Poppleford a great place to live.

The parish council should start engaging with villagers, run a referendum on the large developments, then act on what the villagers want.

Instead the intransigent councillors feel that they are right and the villagers are both wrong and irrelevant. It is back to the historical rotten and pocket boroughs.

Consult properly or resign. That is my message and I believe that of many of the population in our wonderful village agree.

It is time for the parish council to resign en bloc and an election called. Let the people of Newton Poppleford decide.

David Zirker

(via email)