‘Deficit’ anger as number of meetings cut

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COUNTY Hall has been slammed for slashing the number of community meetings being held each year across the Vale to save costs.

A Winslow councillor has hit out after it was announced that the Winslow Local Area Forum would meet three times a year, having previously met quarterly.

Community forums were set up to bring public authorities and members of the public together to discuss matters of concern.

Councillor Llew Monger, Liberal Democrat, who is also the town mayor, said: “There is a democratic deficit, we have been refused the opportunity to debate the issue.

“Emails from several members have been totally ignored.”

Aylesbury Vale District Councillor Sue Polhill, Conservative, responded: “I do realise that there has been a lot of concern about the cutting down of the numbers of the local area forums.

“I’m happy to host a meeting to get people together to talk about it.

“I’m also happy to write to Bucks County council and ask if there’s any way that they can reinstate extra meetings.

“I’m aware that it’s being done as a cost cutting exercise.”

County Hall said the move, affecting 18 forums across Bucks, should save upwards of £10,000 each year.

Councillor Martin Phillips, who is responsible for community engagement, said: “I want to strike the right balance between making sure the important work of LAFs continues whilst also achieving vital cost savings. I know the Winslow LAF are taking a flexible approach by reducing from four meetings to three, whilst other LAFs like Beaconsfield run with just two meeting a year.”