Well done to those who represented Flockton at the Council meeting on the evening of 10 October 2018. The presentation, under the heading of point 6: Deputations & Petitions (From Members of the Public) was very well presented and equally well received.
This meeting was chaired by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mumtaz Hussain, in the absence of the Mayor, due to illness.
Unfortunately, Cllr. Richard Smith's question, at the end, was once again cut off by the Council. This was the fourth time Kirklees Council had filled time to prevent the question from being asked and answered!
Cllr. Richard Smith shared this to our facebook page:
"I would like to apologise to the people of Flockton for the shameful display earlier this evening at the Full Council Meeting.
"When the Deputy Mayor announced that we were running out of time and made it clear we would not have time to discuss the Motion I had prepared in relation to traffic issues in Flockton, the Bypass and other major road projects in Kirklees, I firstly asked that we suspended Standing Orders, which would have allowed us to discuss the motion and give it the consideration it deserves. After having lost this vote, due to, it seems many Councillors in other groups wanting an early night, I asked the Deputy Mayor, as Chair of the meeting to exercise, as is his right, discretion and grant this anyway. When this was also declined, I asked if we could take a vote on the motion.
"Unfortunately, the Deputy Mayor refused and closed the meeting at 20:58.
"I am very disappointed with the lack of courtesy shown to the good people of Flockton, especially after a small number of you, including some school children made the effort to attend the meeting and present a very well thought out and presented deputation relating to the same issues.
"I can only say I tried my best to prevent this from happening and I have already written to the Clerk, formally requesting that this be placed on the next Full Council agenda.
"The 3 Ward Councillors will continue to support the residents we represent and in time we will have our time in the Council Chamber.
"All the best, Richard." – Kirkburton Ward Councillor
Residents responded with a number of comments (some paraphrased)
"That must have been so frustrating – so much bureaucracy and sounds like as it doesn't affect them then it can keep being put back – I personally think it's a disgrace!"
"Angry doesn't come close. I was involved in the deputation, and know how much work we put into it. I also know this is the 4th time Richard Smith has tried to discuss Flockton's issues at a council meeting and he has failed to get a hearing. This time, perhaps with many more of us watching, we can get angry at the way some of our council casually dismissed his motion because they wanted the meeting to close. I feel let down by those elected to represent me."
"They'll avoid at all costs. They don't want to spend the money. Not your fault at all, you did your best."
"It's like history repeating itself same as when we tried no body seemed to take us seriously and always bottom of the pile it's disgraceful."
"It reminds me of the shenanigans in Westminster. They are given an important issue to discuss, and waste their time on something useless until time runs out to debate it."
Another resident added:
"I will help out where I can, no problem. I can't help but think that the time for pussy footing around Kirklees Council has come and gone. I've lived here all my life and am sick of hearing all the false promises the council make and the blatant disregard for how dangerous the road has become. It simply beggars belief how they can just ignore the issue. Instead the council pass planning for even more house building , making the road even more congested. If they could make money from a bypass the bulldozers would be out road building right now! For Christ's sake this has only been going on for 65 years to my knowledge, how much more patient does this village have to be before something is done?"
Cllr. John Taylor said:
"This has been an a shocking outcome, it was clear from earlier on in the meeting that Labour did not want us to get to the motion. In the past we have extended the Council Meeting to complete important business. Whilst I am angry for myself & Richard who have worked hard on this I am really angry for the disrespectful way they have treated you Charlotte Michael & the rest of the group especially after you came and spoke so well & were applauded by the Council when you finished. It was a disgraceful outcome, showing contempt for local residents but Richard & I will try again next month & will continue to do so until we succeed, this is far too important to let them get away with. Questions need answering & support provided."
Cllr. Richard Smith replied:
"I have asked for a list of all the elected members that voted against suspension of Standing Orders. I am not certain I will get it, but if I do, I will be passing it to the Examiner.
"There are some of them that think they are there for themselves, as opposed to representing the people in our Wards and I think those that think an early pint or Coronation Street is more important than Council business should be named and shamed. I can say categorically that your 3 Ward Councillors, John, Bill and I tried to get this heard."
Resident and bypass campaigner, Elena said:
"I also felt very let down but the worst part was the feelings of the children we took to speak on our behalf as part of the deputation. They were excited and proud to be part of the democratic process and spoke confidently, passionately and eloquently and became more and more interested with the whole process following it live online after we'd left. They felt so let down and just couldn't understand why the council didn't have time to hear the motion prepared by our councillors. Especially when they realised this was the 4th time of trying. They knew that this was an important part to follow on from their deputation and despite the fact they are young and inexperienced, could clearly see that we'd been 'fobbed' off. I was shocked to hear the deputy mayor say on live webcam at the end. 'It's 9 o'clock, I've had enough' when it actually wasn't 9 o'clock and he'd purposely wasted time!! So disappointing but it has made me all the more determined that our voice will continue to be heard…"
See the Huddersfield Examiner article here (or scroll down to later post).