In light of concerns raised by the head of the Allotment Working Group, Councillor Carter and after considerable debate with the Chair of Cowling Parish Council, I have decided to edit my previous post for accuracy. Councillor Carter has been clear in pointing out that the AWG did not in fact hold a meeting prior to the Parish Council meeting, held 4th July, to discuss public consultation as I had written.
I acknowledge there was in fact no such meeting and sincerely apologize to Councillor Carter for any embarrassment caused to him by my claim.
I have made clear my understanding of events to Mr Perrow and acknowledge his personal opinions made by way of reply. I also informed him of my intentions to edit the mistakes made previously and in the interest of balance invited him to make a statement to be included in this post in order to find resolution and in the interests of good will between those wanting allotments and the Parish Council. Unfortunately he neither acknowledged the offer nor choose to accept it.
I also apologize to readers who may have been misled by the comments I made and would like to take a brief opportunity to explain my misunderstanding.
I arrived at the conclusion that the AWG had held a meeting based on comments made during the Parish Council meeting, in relation to an agenda item raising the issue of further consulting public opinion on the matter of allotment placement. During that agenda item Mr Perrow said the following in support of this idea:
"...we thought... we had a meeting to discuss it.. err Chris.. Councillor Carter unfortunately can't be here... and we do have two sites that we think are viable. And the recommendation from the working group is that we go ahead, as a working group and arrange a public meeting to show...”
and later went on to say:
“..and we are now going onto a recommendation from the working group that we go back to the public..”.
and later still:
"..at which point the allotments working group proposed that we go on to the next step which is a meeting with the public..."
Councillor Barnes (presumably because he is on the AWG) then questioned Mr Perrow about the "meeting" and was tersely reminded that, he was sorry but,
"as previously stated Councillor Carter can't be here",
and that he should discuss the matter with Councillor Carter. Councillor Tindale then pointed out that they (PC?) all knew, they've had the emails and Mr Perrow went on to state he (Councillor Barnes) has,
"..had the results, I've made sure you've all had the results..".
Mr Perrow was also asked why there was a need to consult the public further and how that would be a valid basis for the Parish Council to come to any decision. After all, even if 5% of Cowling turn out again to make known their views on allotments, it's hardly representative of the whole of Cowling. He went on to explain how the public must be fully consulted on the issue and that it would not decide the issue once and for all, but would "help" the council to make a decision as to how it would proceed.
The agenda item was then voted on by the Parish Council and was carried in favour of the suggestion presented by the Chair.
It is based on those events that I (and other members of the public) assumed that there had been a meeting of the AWG and that their meeting validated the agenda item upon which the Parish Councilors voted.
As it has now been clearly brought to my attention that I was mistaken and that the AWG had not in fact held a meeting and proposed that the public should be further consulted as I previously stated, I am removing any and all references to my mistaken conclusion from the previous post.
I look forward to returning the focus of this blog back to allotment and leisure gardening in Cowling, and shall continue to invite positive dialogue with the Parish Council whilst maintaining whole hearted support for further allotment provision.