Let's listen to everyone, council urged

Disgruntled residents in north Norfolk could soon have the chance to vent their spleen at all council meetings if a proposal to open them up to the public is given the go ahead.

Disgruntled residents in north Norfolk could soon have the chance to vent their spleen at all council meetings if a proposal to open them up to the public is given the go-ahead.

The move would mean anyone living in the district could ask a question or raise a concern at any public meeting simply by submitting their name, contact details and the nature of their question before the start.

Up to 30 minutes would be available at the start of each meeting for public participation and each person would have three minutes to make his or her point.

Eric Seward, portfolio holder for member services, made the proposal at North Norfolk District Council's overview and scrutiny committee last week and councillors agreed to recommend that the council alters its constitution. At the moment, any member of the public wishing to speak must submit a written question at least 14 days before a meeting and can only do so at full council meetings. The only committee which allows public involvement is planning.


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Mr Seward said that put people off getting involved. He said: "Public participation in committees and full council is too restrictive and discourages people from coming along to either ask questions or raise matters of concern. We believe in open and transparent councils."

Other councils in the county already have similar procedures.

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Mr Seward said the proposal now had to be approved by NNDC's cabinet, followed by the full council, before it became part of the authority's constitution.

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