This email will be waiting in Cllr Bird’s – Leader of Walsall Council – inbox on Monday morning.
Dear Cllr Bird,
It is with delight and relief that I received the news last week that there are to be barriers placed on Northfields Way, Clayhanger, to stop further illegal encampments and loitering. I thank the council for acting with speed on this matter.
Some events of the last seven days have raised some questions for me, however, and I wonder of you could take the time to answer them?
1. What is the Council’s policy on how information is released to the public?
I was surprised to see earlier this week, on Ben Brittian’sFacebook page, a statement from yourself, confirming that the idea of barriers on Northfields Way was the idea of Ben Brittain and Cllr Ferguson and that Cllr Wade had ‘no part of this initiative’. Is it Council policy for the Leader of Council to use Social Media, such as the personal Facebook page of an unelected representative, in order to communicate with the electorate?
2. What is the Council’s policy on sharing planning information decisions with the public?
I wonder if you could also explain why the decision to put the barriers in is not recorded on any public documents on the council’s website. As this is the first place I and other Clayhanger residents visited to verify the information, it seems fairly obvious that if people cannot find any official verification they will begin to doubt the announcement. Which is exactly what has happened. Cllr Ferguson and Ben Brittain perhaps could have waited to make the announcement and deliver the fliers to the residents of Clayhanger until such a time that it could be officially verified.
It does rather make communication at the council look inefficient. Nothing on the council website, Cllr Wade had no information and yet Cllr Ferguson and Ben Brittain appear to have all the information at their finger tips and had time aplenty to print fliers and deliver them. It’s no wonder people become cynical about politics. Such a shame at a time when Mr Cameron wants us all to ‘do our bit’ and be ‘all in this together’. I would really like to be. If I had all the information. I would be unstoppable.
3. When can Clayhanger residents expect the barriers to be erected?
A further scour of the Council website today (19th February) confirms that there is still no official confirmation that these barriers will be put in place. I wonder of you could advise me on the progress of the initiative?
Thank you Cllr Bird for your time and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.