Good ideas, but we should have debated them first

First published in News

I REFER to Coun Tim Munro's notice of notion to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's management committee.

The ideas in themselves are good, with Portland Town Council negotiating with the borough for the assumption of responsibility for the island's car parks, traffic management issues (eg a 20mph speed limit through Underhill's High Street) and street naming on the island.

I've been putting the first two forward since getting on Portland Town Council (PTC) last year.

Certainly, if PTC is in control of the car parks we won't get a repeat of last year's clumsy attempt to impose charges on the island's free car parks. This was seen off by an effective we say no' grass roots campaign within the Underhill community.

I'm delighted Coun Munro has changed his mind since his first few months in office as Mayor of Portland.

Last May he clearly articulated his opposition to any transfer of power back to PTC and insisted the current status quo between the borough PTC was in the island's best interests.

Coun Munro's conversion is welcome, but his going public before a proper debate has taken place at a full meeting of PTC isn't.

It shows a marked lack of respect for and accountability to the local council that Coun Munro currently chairs.

These proposals demand in-depth research and careful consideration of a whole range of issues, including the likely annual take for PTC, the cost of staffing to maintain the car parks and the likely loss of annual revenue for the borough.

There ought to have been a full debate involving all 14 councillors.

I will continue to support the implementation of these ideas provided they are first comprehensively debated at a full council meeting. Perhaps Coun Munro intends such a debate to take place on March 12 at full council?

Democratic accountability demands a collective opportunity to claim ownership through active participation in the decision-making process.

Coun Richard Denton-White, Fortuneswell, Portland.

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