Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Garston Hospital - planning committee

I have had a few e mails or posts asking about the decision about Garston hospital. I have just discovered that the relevant planning committee is next Tuesday (21st April).

The agenda for the whole meeting, including material re the hospital, is at www.liverpool.gov.uk in the Councillors, government and decision making section.

I have had a few problems with links lately but hopefully this one will take you to the relevant section

1 comment:

PM Swimmer said...

Wait a minute, vacant and underused allotments!
I didn't know there were allotments behind the hospital and was not given the choice of adding my name to a waiting list to get one here when contacting the council about allotments.
Underused implies that this is service that people are not taking up despite being offered the opportunity. The PCT are being at best disingenuous with their use of language here if not being downright decitful. If the council are responsible for these allotments then I would suggest that the failure to inform local residents that these allotments exist and offer them the chance to put them name down is a form of collusion aimed at manipulating the allotment allocation process to predujice this planning decision. In that case I wish to make a complaint to the council and demand an investigation, therefore I would appreciate it if you could provide information on who has responibity for the allotments.
I would also like to draw attention to the fact that distribution of letters regarding this scheme seems fairly random, and certainly not based on geographical proximity.

Looking at the meeting documents I note that Cllrs Oglethorpe and Millea have, predictably, chosen to support the PCT on this. Fair enough, I can't ask councillors to always agree with me and am aware that they have a number of competing perspectives to try and reconcile.

That said I can expect them to have honour and account for their actions, therefore given that they have chosen to disregard the objections of 350 of their consituents (and we can reasonably assume these 350 are among the closest to the development) I would hope they have the decency to resign should this endevour end in failure either in terms of environmental quality and service provision, two areas I assume a councillor would consider in detail before making their decision. You may suggest that their accountability is answered for at the next election. However given that it is clear our electoral system is broken, that these councillors have an incumbency adavantage and most importantly as PFI is Labour government policy there was no hope that the opposition would ever support the objections of the residents in this matter using the ballot box argument to justify not taking some responsibilty for failure lacks sufficient moral wieght.

Which brings me on to a general question/issue. Councillors frequently make decision to support or object to plans like this, yet we have little or no information as to the level of thought, research or lobbying which informs these decisions.

Given that we have a trust deficit within our political structures I feel that we should have a better opportunity to understand the process which councillors have used when deciding to support an application such as this, what information sources they have used to infrom their decision and what representations have been made to them regarding the decision (suitably anonomised in the case of an individual only).
I also think that the council should make the voting record of a councillor clear on the council website, at present I can get attendance records for each councillor but nothing more which will tell me how they discharged their duty. Compare this to an MP where I can easily find their voting record and its clear that we barely have any info on what decisions our councillors are taking for us. Now councillors by and large no longer really make decisions, certainly not in the walk in the council chamber and say 'ay' or 'nay' sense, power is exercised through executive comittees and what the councillors do or don't object to, as in this application, but we could require them to register their position on key issues and collate and display this, not a difficult task at all with modern IT systems. It could even be possible to allow individual voters to put up and issue or interest to them and thus find out the actual views of the councillor, which would surely encourage participation in the process. Slightly off the point I know but an issue i'm hoping is part of your ethical governance brief.

Oh and let me reassure you I am not trying to catch-out orr smear these individual councillors, as you'll see I've already stated that the Labour ones would be as much use as a chocolate fireguard when it comes to supporting residents objections on this development. I would just like to know that a) my councillors have had to read more than an NHS, council or party briefing note before reaching a decision and b) that I can actually find out what their views are rather than just learn about what 'excellent work' they have done from a 'legally formatted' election leaflet, assuming I get one. Which I won't if I live in a safe seat.

oh and I realise that I have mentioned people by name in this comment, although only to reference their views as laid out in council documents, if this post isn't ok for publication,some guideance would be appreciated.