Row over whether Fareham councillors should speak at meetings

Councillor Nick Gregory
Councillor Nick Gregory
Fareham Community Hospital in Salisbury Green

Picture: Paul Jacobs

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DISGRUNTLED councillor Nick Gregory has sparked a row by saying councillors should be allowed to speak at community action team meetings.

He said he intends to put forward a motion urging the council to allow councillors to speak at these meetings.

But the idea has been criticised by the leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward who said community action team meetings should be for residents to hear presentations and ask questions.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘In some areas there are up to 12 councillors.

‘If they all stood up and had their say, how much time would that leave for residents?

‘Councillors have many opportunities to be heard.

‘There are lots of council meetings held in public. It is not fair for them to take the time away from residents.’

CAT meetings take place every four months. They are chaired by a ward councillor, who is elected in by the other councillors.

During the meetings there are presentations from the police, council officers on a specific subject and from an invited guest.

Residents can suggest what topics they would like to see and there has been presentations from bus companies, NHS, community groups and charities.

Cllr Gregory, Fareham West ward councillor, said: ‘I feel strongly about the fact that councillors are not allowed to ask questions or be asked questions at these meetings.

‘There are many residents who may not be able to attend due to health or other personal reasons so they ask their ward councillor to represent them.

‘I feel councillors should be able to ask questions on their behalf.’

Cllr Woodward said councillors are welcome to all CAT meetings so that residents can meet them and ask questions afterwards.

The next CAT meeting is due to be held on Wednesday at Holy Rood Church, Gosport Road, Crofton.

Another will be held in Portchester on Friday, July 25 at Portchester Community School. All meetings start at 7pm.

At these meetings, residents can hear a presentation on what the council has been doing over the past year.