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SPEAKING OUT: Chorleywood parish councillor allegedly barred from talking at Three Rivers planning meeting

 Published on: 23rd May 2022   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) has been accused of participating in the “silencing of voices” by a district councillor after a parish councillor was refused the right to speak at a planning meeting.

The incident allegedly occurred at a Three Rivers planning committee meeting on April 21, where elected lead of planning for Chorleywood Parish Council cllr Zenab Hearn was not allowed to speak by the meeting’s chair.

This is despite the district council’s constitution giving her the right to speak at these particularly meetings, and cllr Hearn complying with all required procedures for speaking at the meeting.

Conservative councillor for the Chorleywood North and Sarratt ward Ciaran Reed has publicly condemned the action and has supported cllr Hearn’s complaint against the incident, adding: “It is a shame that none of the Lib Dem councillors for Chorleywood have joined our complaints around residents in our village being ignored.”

The Chorleywood Residents Association (CRA) has also spoken out against the incident, stating in a newsletter: “The Parish Council’s right to speak on items in its area is a vital part of ensuring that the local context is properly considered by the Planning Committee and that local voices are heard.

“Making decisions without this could result in unnecessary errors in the decisions.”

The CRA have also asked TRDC to commit to ensuring incidents like this never happen again. Chair of CPC, councillor Debbie Rosario, stated: “CPC was disappointed not to be able to speak at
the planning meeting.

“Subsequent discussion between the parish and district councils has confirmed that this was a misunderstanding and we have been assured that robust processes have now been put in place to prevent a similar incident arising in the future.”

TRDC and councillor Sarah Nelmes, Lib Dem Leader of TRDC, have been contacted for comment.

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