I WAS interested to read Brian Luckham’s letter (October 26) in which he asked whether Huntingdon Town Council was becoming less democratic.
He notes that under the procedure where members of the public can address the council at the start of their meetings anyone wishing to do so is restricted to speaking on subjects that are on the agenda of the meeting.
However, the council’s Standing Orders (at least the version published on its website) state that members of the public can put questions prior to the start of each committee meeting as long as they are pertinent to the terms of reference of that committee. I think it would be useful to know from the town council why the clerk has chosen to amend this.
This change of policy appears to have started in August, when it even proved difficult for one councillor to raise an issue despite having submitted a written request in advance of the meeting to have it included on the agenda.
However, the procedure then appears to have been ignored at a committee meeting in September when an address to the committee on a subject not on the agenda was allowed at the start of the meeting, and then another intervention by a non town councillor took place at a latter point of the meeting.
I hope Mr Luckham’s fears of less democracy at Huntingdon Town Council are proved wrong – it would certainly go against the Government’s Big Society aims of taking power away from politicians and giving it to local people.