Call for public's view on taking more power

PUBLISHED: 02:01 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 10 June 2010

BUDLEIGH Salterton councillors are calling for public opinion over whether the town council should take on extra powers and achieve quality status. Currently, when members sit around the council table, their comments about planning applications are made o

BUDLEIGH Salterton councillors are calling for public opinion over whether the town council should take on extra powers and achieve quality status.Currently, when members sit around the council table, their comments about planning applications are made on an advisory basis - with the district council reaching final decisions.The council is keen to hear the opinions of residents and businesses about the proposal made by the Budleigh mayor, Councillor John Shiel, and deputy mayor councillor Chris Kitson - because not all town members are convinced the move would benefit the town.Councillor Dick Mitchell said his concern was the town council was under-qualified to make planning decisions."I worry we wouldn't have enough knowledge. At the moment we have East Devon District Council looking over our shoulder," he said. If Budleigh's members achieve Quality Council status they will be given more power - allowing them to play a greater role in the community.Budleigh Salterton deputy mayor councillor Chris Kitson said his concern with the current system lay with ward members, who were not familiar with Budleigh, making decisions over the town's future design.Under the Quality Council status ,decisions over tree work within Budleigh's conservation areas, and shop front signage changes within the town, could be delegated.At the moment both decisions are made at East Devon District Council.Councillor Chris Kitson said: "We believe that it would give the town council more power to deal with certain planning matters and, as time goes on and things get devolved, it will be the Quality Councils that will be able to deliver more for their community. Instead of being advisory, we would be a decision making authority and I believe now is the time to get on board. "We are asking the residents how they would feel if the town council had more say, and greater decision making powers."There seems to be a fear about it among the council. It's a fear of the unknown."l Do you think Budleigh's councillors should have more power to make decisions? Let the Journal know.

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