At all of the public meetings that were held in Newtown recently, there were several common issues.
This focuses on access to Local Councillors and their surgeries in the Newtown area.
Concerns were raised by residents, particularly the elderly who have lived in the area for a number of years regarding the difficulty in rising issues with their Local Councillors of which currently there are three of them.
If you can imagine how hard it was to listen to a few elderly people, that have limited mobility, telling the meetings that they attend Newtown Community Centre on more than one occasion during the times of the advertised Councillors Surgeries only to be told that it is either cancelled or the Councillor attended waited minutes and went home.
This is just got good enough and Councillors are elected to served "EVERYONE" in their ward and not just the chosen few in their Political strongholds.
This yet again is why turnout at local elections are low as people become further disillusioned and some ore on the verge of giving up.
I actually raised this matter with the leader of the Council Ian Ward, who was kind enough to respond as I do know he also does his surgeries in his ward, whom commented as follows:
" As advertised on the website – “Councillors will always try to attend their advice surgeries; however here may be times, when an advice surgery has to be cancelled or changed at short notice. There is no legal requirement for Councillors to keep the advice surgery open for the full time.
Regards the Aston Ward Councillors they do not advertise a finish time, the surgeries listed for all three Councillors are as follows:-
Aston Ward Councillors operate a rota –
1st Wednesday of every month, 6.30pm
Newtown Community Centre, 57 Newtown Shopping Centre, Newtown, Birmingham B19 2SW.
3rd Wednesday of every month (School Term Only), 6.30pm
St George's Post 16 Centre, Great Hampton Row, Newtown, Birmingham B19 3JG.
4th Wednesday of every month (School Term Only), 6.30pm
Broadway School, The Broadway, Birmingham B20 3EP."
I know the first two are not regularly maintained as confirmed by residents.
I do believe, although it is not a legal requirement to keep advice surgeries as confirmed by Councillor Ward, it should be their duty to clearly advertise start and finish times and ensure that their surgeries are covered especially if one is not available. It just is not good enough for the people of Newtown.
I do believe that Councillor surgeries should be weekly and at various times to allow reasonable availability and access for all.
Clearly, the people of Newtown just have no representation and this needs to change.
Personally, I have been dealing with sever issues in the area and continue to do so, however, do feedback if you attend the Newtown Surgeries and none of the three Councillors turn up.
It's time for change and together we will make it happen.
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12th March 2018