Cllr Jim Grant, Leader of the Swindon Labour Group, has today called upon council leader, Cllr David Renard, to ensure the 8,000 signature online Lydiard petition is debated at the next council meeting on 21st January and that the petition organiser, Mike Bowden, is able to address Council on this issue. Because the online petition failed to ask for addresses of the petition’s signatories, the Council have failed to accept the petition as legitimate to enable a Full Council debate. The petition did gather the signatories’ email address and postcodes.
The Swindon Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Jim Grant:
“It is clear by the phenomenal response of this petition of the strength of feeling of Swindon residents on this issue. For the council to refuse to accept the petition for debate because of a minor technicality appears churlish and would have a detrimental impact on the reputation of Swindon Council. I am sure Councillor Renard recognises this and I am calling on him to, in the spirit of common sense, allow this petition to be heard.
I know that David believes in getting the public more involved in council decisions – indeed, this is why the council devised a petition scheme in the first place. The Friends of Lydiard’s petition is exactly what the scheme was designed to do – allow residents to air their views on a council-related subject they feel strongly about. To fail to allow a council debate on their petition would send all the wrong signals to the Swindon public that the council is not interested in their views. The Friends petition would comply with the Government’s petition scheme so it should be good enough for Swindon Borough Council.
I, and the Labour Group, am happy to work with David to ensure the people’s voice is heard on Lydiard. I am sure he will agree that common sense should prevail.”