Letter: Believing in the voice of people

Whitby's crumbling Old Town Hall
Whitby's crumbling Old Town Hall

I refer to Mr Roger Reed’s letter in last Friday’s Gazette.

As a councillor elected to the borough in May 2015 for Streonshalh Ward, I have a huge belief in local democracy and its role in giving people a voice.

This ranges from town and parish, borough and county through to Westminster.

To put the record straight, in pursuit of my quest to serve Whitby to the best of my ability, I would like to point out my involvement in the following:

1) The publication of regular newsletters updating residents regarding local issues;

2) Attendance at various community groups and pressure groups within my ward and beyond;

3) Liaison with council officers regarding matters affecting my constituents;

4) Involvement and organisation in many local campaigns, including: Eskdale School, the piers, the old Town Hall, the dredger, Mind, local bus services, the hospital and library. Much of this is a matter of public record.

Moreover, like Mr Reed, I believe in local accountability, either through the press and media or in a public forum. Thus, I have attended and given reports from my own perpetuate in the borough council in nearly all the past 2015/16 monthly Town Council meetings.

For Mr Reed’s benefit, the records are easy to check!

There are standing items in the agenda-borough council reports and pubic participation.

It would be hugely beneficial for local democracy if many more people were to avail themselves of the opportunities that exist to participate and attempt to shape the direction of travel for our town.

Of course, at the end of the day, as Mr Reed alludes to, the electorate should remain sovereign and they should go out and vote in huge numbers.

Apathy is not acceptable, it merely supports the status quo.

Finally, I would like to stress that I can only attempt to explain my own efforts and am in no way responsible for the actions of others.

I would urge people like Mr Reed and like minded others to get fully involved in the interests of our town and local democracy.

Cllr Rob Barnett

Esk Terrace, Whitby