Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Councillor quits over ‘slow’ decision making

A PEPPARD parish councillor has resigned, saying he was frustrated at the speed of decision-making.

A PEPPARD parish councillor has resigned, saying he was frustrated at the speed of decision-making.

Clive Mills had been on the council for three-and-a-half years and was chairman of the planning committee.

Mr Mills, who was director of the civil engineering division of Associated Asphalt in Rotherfield Greys before he retired, said: “Having spent all my working life in the private sector, I became increasingly frustrated by decision-making and by the speed with which things happen.

“I’m used to making decisions day-to-day with speed and living by those decisions and sometimes that’s how parish councils have to work.

“It can be difficult but that’s the challenge wherever you are making decisions to hopefully get them right.

“You are elected to make decisions in the best interests of everyone in the parish and you have to answer to people if they find that they’ve got problems with the decisions that have been made.

“So I’ve decided to move on and I hope I will be able to associate myself with something else in the vicinity that will be worthwhile and I will get immense enjoyment out of — as I have over the years in being a parish councillor.”

Mr Mills said things came to a head at the most recent council meeting, where councillors debated for 45 minutes the terms of an agreement to co-operate with Sonning Common on its neighbourhood plan. One of the key areas of discussion was supposed to be whether the council would allow a site on the edge of Peppard to be used by Sonning Common in its plan. Instead there was a lot of debate about the definitions of a consultation area and neighbourhood plan area.

Mr Mills said: “I put in a fair amount of work and had long discussions with councillors in Sonning Common about what they wanted from us and I thought they were pretty reasonable in their requests.

“But we couldn’t come to any decision about the memorandum of understanding I had produced or on the area of consultation and we never really got on to making a decision about the site in our parish. It was all a bit frustrating.”

Mr Mills, of Shiplake Bottom, also accused South Oxfordshire District Council of failing to help parish councils with their neighbourhood plans.

He said: “They wish the parish councils just sort it out themselves and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The parish councillors are a great bunch of people and put an awful lot of work into the whole thing but I want to give my time to something more productive and I am gracefully bowing out. I wish them every success in the future and I’m sure they will look after the parish in a good way.”

The council is now looking to fill two vacancies after Nick Launders resigned in December. Anyone interested in applying should email parish clerk Linda Collison at clerk@rppc.org.uk

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