After 26 years, Richmond Borough Council have decided that their Area Consultation Meetings are NOT the most effective way of communicating with Richmond residents. Which leaves me a bit confused as I've only recently written an article on how to use their Consultation Finder!
Of course there is an incentive in axing the meetings as it will reportedly save £7,000 off the Borough's budget each year, which is in keeping with a proposed Governmental move to scrap 'ward committee' pilots, approved by the previous administration, saving another £50,000 a year.
The area consultation meetings are now believed to be outdated and ineffective, and apparently increasingly poorly attended. Instead, Richmond Borough Council will be launching an All In One Survey, which will hopefully tell them how Richmond residents wish to be communicated with. This, they believe, must be ascertained before expensive pilot schemes are put in place.
At the moment, there are several ways to communicate with the Council, which I'm sure are not always taken up. People lead busy lives, sometimes don't want to be 'any trouble', and so often, ward-wide decisions are made leaving some residents feeling they'd have like to have had more of a say.
In which case we need to change that.
If you love your Borough, you need to pay attention to proposed plans and speak out when given the opportunity.
Currently, many councillors hold ward surgeries for people to raise issues on a one-to-one basis, and these need not only be used for personal issues you might be concerned about, but wider topics as well.
You can also email the Council and councillors, keep an eye out for public meetings on key topics, and also take part in the planned All In One Survey. It is thought this survey will be sent out to every household in the Borough, in October or November, and responses received will help to shape what happens and how in Richmond over the following years.
For more information about the All In One Survey, have a look at Richmond Borough Council's website.
Silas Van Der Bas
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Silas Van Der Bas is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.