Why is debate being held in private?

RE The Green at Seamer (letter to Seamer Parish Council).

I note from the minutes of a meeting held on August 14 that members of Seamer Parish Council are to consider our proposals for The Green at their meeting on September 11 and that the consideration will be held in private after all members of the public and press have been excluded from the meeting.

My client is surprised at this decision particularly following the history of the council’s previous considerations since we first put forward proposals for The Green on March 13 this year. A major factor expressed by the council was a wish to engage with the wider community before reaching any decision. We were asked to hold a public consultation exercise on our proposals. This we did by way of a public exhibition and questionnaire on March 24. The council however felt that the number of participants in that exercise, although encouraging when compared with many other similar exercises, was too few to guide members in their decision. The council consequently resolved that a wider exercise was required to engage the entire community and explored the possibility of a local poll. At the same time we put forward some ideas for a less costly, informal but equally comprehensive consultation. Surprisingly the council did not take up this idea and now seemingly intends to take a decision which will have had no input from local parishioners as a whole, and moreover will be held in a manner which prevents parishioners from hearing the debate.

As you know my clients have not sought to deprive the public of any information about their proposals and have been completely open with their objectives and aspirations. There is nothing with the proposals which we are not happy to see in the public domain. You will note that the details requested by the council and provided in my clients’ letter to you of August 1 were not restricted or privileged information and not provided on “private and confidential” basis, and are also reported in the meeting minutes, a public document. We continue to

believe that an open and fully informed debate is the proper way forward.

We have been advised that there has been, and continues to be, discussion on Facebook. Whilst we welcome any properly informed discussion, we understand that some of the Facebook discussion is inaccurate and misunderstands or misrepresents our intentions. We expect members to restrict their consideration to the Proudfoot Group proposals as presented.

Graham Price

North Street