Letter: 'We can better serve as independents'
PUBLISHED: 09:53 10 February 2019
I read councillor Shepherd's letter (North Norfolk News, January 17) with little interest.
My colleagues and me are accustomed to receiving his frequent letters and emails and generally we ignore them as we deal it pointless to indulge in an exchange of vituperative comments.
However as councillor Shepherd has seen fit to refer to me by name I felt that on this occasion I would reply, giving a statement that is a reflection of my own personal feelings.
I was elected in May 2015 to represent the Lancaster South ward in Fakenham, as a Conservative councillor on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).
At the start of the term the Conservative group were the controlling party with thirty four members. As we now approach the end of this four year term only nineteen Conservative councillors remain.
Two members left to join the Liberal Democrats and nine have become independent councillors by the end of 2017, due to the disastrous handling of the Egmere situation, when the then Conservative leader refused to accept the majority decision of the full council to examine the proposal in more detail in order to protect public finances.
A vote of no confidence in the Leader was called by the Liberal Democrats and carried, the Conservative group lost control of the council.
I would suggest councillor Shepherd considers these facts carefully and ponders on what he and the other members of his group should have done to prevent this catastrophic turn of events.
Perhaps a clue lies in councillor Shepherd’s deprecating statement about councillor Butikofer’s measures to engage with the community to accurately assess current needs, I believe that listening to the views and opinions of the public and their elected members should be an ongoing practice to aid good communication which leads to good decision making.
Furthermore I feel this is of prime importance in the delivery of an excellent service.
As an independent councillor I am freed of the necessity to toe a party line and I will continue to listen to and value the opinions of both my constituents and colleagues.
When necessary I will also challenge any proposal that does not appear to be financially viable or well thought out.
COUNCILLOR JOHN REST
Councillor John Rest
Independent Group at NNDC
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