Councillors will scrutinise plans

It’s official. Warwick district is a great place to live, work and play. The district was in 11th place on the annual ‘top 50’ list compiled by Halifax. Great news, but are we in danger of losing this accolade?

Approval of the Local Plan by a majority of councillors last week marks a watershed in the planning for the future of our area. On the other hand, this approval by councillors was not matched by a confidence in infrastructure planning that must meet the needs of a successful growing community through provision of schools, health services, community centres and sustainable transport.

I agree with the sentiments in a letter (Courier last week) from ‘Residents of Warwick’ that the infrastructure that is so vital to the success of the district is as it stands unsafe. They suggest that there needs to be an independent body to monitor the Local Plan but I suggest that this is not the best option.

Scrutiny is a fundamental role of councillors. You elect us to oversee how our council services are run. After the council meeting last week, I wrote to all councillors saying that “there was fairly consistent concern on the evolving infrastructure planning.  I have asked this before and would like to put forward again that as district councillors we need to find effective ways of scrutinising infrastructure planning and be more able to influence outcomes.” On Tuesday, council agreed that this is the best way forward.

Everyone has views on how their community should be run. That is exactly as it should be. By employing “independent experts”, it will just add the plethora of opinion. In the development of our Local Plan, there have been many expert views on many issues, usually with diverse conclusions. I hope that you will allow your elected councillors to carry out their responsibilities; to listen to our residents and to scrutinise and challenge our local authorities. We need to continue to question what is developing in the Local Plan as well as supporting the need for affordable housing for local people.

Cllr Jerry Weber, Leamington Clarendon (Lab)