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Topic: Urgent: Contact your councillors about Council committee structure changes

Urgent: Contact your councillors about Council committee structure changes
30 Jun 2020 19:31 #5392

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author

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I hope that Southgate District Civic Voice will forgive me for republishing this message that they sent out to members today, but it draws attention to a significant change to our local democratic structures that the council will be voting on at its Annual Meeting, which is tomorrow evening (1st July).

Like SDCV, I'm concerned that the new Environmental Forum will not be capable of effectively feeding in views and scrutinising the council's actions on three different topics: heritage and conservation; the green belt; and public transport.

I'm also concerned that this is the first I've heard of this proposal, despite doing my best to keep up with the council's work. I believe that a major change like this should have been the subject of a public consultation. I'll be emailing my ward councillors tonight saying so.

If anyone reading this shares these concerns, I urge you to contact your councillors - the email addresses for councillors in the former Southgate UDC area are all at the bottom of the message, but this is obviously of concern to residents of the entire borough. To find other councillors visit this page: governance.enfield.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx .

Basil


Dear member,

This E-news is to highlight a matter on the Agenda for the Enfield Annual Council Meeting tomorrow 1st July.

Under Agenda item 12, COUNCIL'S COMMITTEE STRUCTURE AND REVIEW OF SCRUTINY, there is a proposal to create an Environmental Forum, which would deal with issues that currently undertaken separately by Green Belt Forum, Conservation Advisory Group (CAG), and Public Transport Consultative Group.

Membership of the new Forum would consist of 7 Members of the Council with up to 21 representatives from local groups with an interest in the natural and built environment and public transport.

This proposed group would meet monthly, but only allow one representative from each of the 21 local groups. Currently at the separate meetings, SDCV has a representative on CAG, who is a member of our Planning Group. The SDCV Planning Group scrutinise the relevant planning applications in advance, so that our representative can give the group view at CAG. For the Green Belt forum a different member attends these meetings and reports to the committee and members as appropriate.

SDCV appreciates there is some overlap in the agendas of these groups, and an overarching view would ensure a more coherent strategy. However, we are extremely concerned that the changes outlined will not give justice to the considerations and scrutiny of the built environment, the natural environment and local transport. One representative from a particular study group will not always be able to consider all aspects of a proposal.

When discussing the planning system with Civic Voice colleagues, one area often raised is how planning departments deal with conservation and heritage. The best practice often sited is to have a Conservation Advisory Group that regularly meets with council officers and councillors to discuss the applications or plans for the area. Up to now, SDCV have been able to cite Enfield as a progressive and enlightened local authority. This proposal will set us back years in terms of proper scrutiny for the benefit of the whole borough.

We also note that this new structure does not include representatives from some of the local groups like RSPB, Wildlife Trust or CPRE, who are extremely knowledgeable on matters regularly discussed at the Green Belt Forum. Members of the study groups who sit on CAG, with the best will in the world do not have the depth of knowledge of these groups. Likewise, those who currently attend the Green Belt Forum do not have the depth of knowledge on planning matters.

For more information on the meeting see the agenda:


Click here to read the relevant report (page 19)

If you share our concern on this change, please contact your ward councillors as soon as possible before tomorrow’s meeting, to register your view and ask them to request the change is reconsidered.

Regards
Southgate District Civic Voice

E-mail:
Web: www.SouthgateDistrictCivicVoice.org


Contact details for Ward Councillors for SDCV area:


Cllr Yasemin Brett
Bowes
Cllr Katherine Chibah
Bowes
Cllr Achilleas Georgiou
Bowes
Cllr Alessandro Georgio
Cockfosters
Cllr Elaine Hayward
Cockfosters
Cllr Edward Smith
Cockfosters
Cllr Tim Leaver
Palmers Green
Cllr Mary Maguire
Palmers Green
Cllr Ahmet Oykener
Palmers Green
Cllr Charith Gunawarde Southgate

Cllr Stephanos Ioanno
Southgate

Cllr Derek Levy

Southgate

Cllr Daniel Anderson

Southgate Green

Cllr Anne Brown

Southgate Green

Cllr Claire Stewart
Cabinet Member West Enfield

Southgate Green

Cllr Maria Alexandrou
Winchmore Hill

Cllr Ian Barnes

Winchmore Hill

Cllr Dinah Barry

Winchmore Hill

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Labour press release: Changes to scrutiny/Councillor allowances
02 Jul 2020 00:03 #5395

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The Enfield Council Labour Group today issued a press release stating that the changes are in response to calls to bolster and improve scrutiny and extra accountability and transparency in additional formal Committees of the Council.

The press release also states that for the tenth year in a row Labour Councillors have refused automatic pay increases to their Councillor allowances.

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