Villagers to challenge 'secret' parish council in May 2007

A GROUP of villagers is planning to fight every member of their parish council in local elections next year, according to a resident. Chris O'Byrne, of Wavering Down House, says a group of eight fellow parishioners is planning a take over of Compton Bisho

A GROUP of villagers is planning to fight every member of their parish council in local elections next year, according to a resident.Chris O'Byrne, of Wavering Down House, says a group of eight fellow parishioners is planning a take over of Compton Bishop Parish Council at the next local elections in May 2007.Mr O'Byrne said: "There are eight friends living in the village from all walks of life and they feel the whole place needs a whole new range of ideas."We have to get out of this fascination with the beauty of the countryside. At the moment if someone wants to put in a conservatory, the council says you can't. "It's ridiculous. These people work hard and are entitled to comfort. What the council doesn't have it doesn't want anyone else to have. "Openness is the main problem. They are secretive and I'm always having to ask questions under the Freedom of Information Act and the council is always expelling the press and public from its meetings. Sometimes you pass by the village hall and they are still there talking an hour and a half later."More and more people are going to monthly meetings and they are very angry with the situation."Asked what the challengers would do if elected, Mr O'Byrne said: "We'd like to put on different things for the children and teenagers, push for a bus service and do something about dog mess."The group of candidates said they want to be named between January and March when they go to get their forms."Parish chairman councillor Mike Tobin said: "The council had an open annual meeting in April attended by 65 people in which it was stated for the record that we had received 14 planning applications for comment from Sedgemoor District Council during the year and approved of 13. The one that we objected to was an agricultural barn."We've received a succession of letters complaining about the clerk. Under her contract of employment, nothing to do with her conduct can be discussed in public, so we have had to exclude the public to discuss the complaints."Mr O'Byrne has twice asked for letters under the Freedom of Information Act and we have only had one other request."There are two parties who criticise the council. Otherwise we have a fine relationship with people in the parish.


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