Put me in the stocks – I am being threatened by council officers who are scheming Ludlow’s future in secret

Officers have threatened me with a complaint to the council’s monitoring officer if I leak a word of secret conversations on future development sites around Ludlow. When I get a minute, I’ll write on the details and why they are fundamentally flawed. But if I do so, I am told I will be reported to the “monitoring officer”. This is the equivalent of being dragged out of class by the ear when I was an infant and made to stand before the head teacher (that happened a few times).

Welcome to Shropshire Council 2018. Huge telescreens dominate Shirehall pumping out non-stop propaganda. Officers threaten councillors for being outspoken and championing democracy. In Shropshire Council, every step it takes forward is followed by two steps back.

The process of developing a new local plan, in this case an update of Shropshire Council’s core strategy, is complex and guided by planning acts and regulations. But I have never encountered a process like this. Secret meetings are being held across the county on potential site allocations – that’s building sites to me and you. These meetings are not minuted or announced. But they will form the basis of a public consultation in October.

I don’t do secret consultations. I don’t do stitching up planning before it becomes public. I have said that I will publish the documents (which are anyway releasable under freedom of information laws.) I have been told today:

If you do proceed with releasing the information shared with you then I need to make you aware that this would be brought to the attention of the Monitoring Officer as a code of conduct issue. I would be grateful if you can please confirm receipt of this email and your intention by midday tomorrow so that we can prepare accordingly.

I don’t take threats over conduct. I don’t take deadlines to respond to a threat.

The monitoring officer complained to me a couple of years ago about bullying in the council when Keith Barrow was leader and the ineffectiveness of opposition leaders in dealing with it. That happened before my time as a councillor but it seems that nothing has changed.

Hear clearly in Shirehall. You run on public money. You need to work in a public way. If I need to have whip round to install stocks in Ludlow Castle so that I can be punished on this imaginary offence, I will crowdfund the cost.

It is disgraceful that elected councillors are threatened in this way. But it sadly not surprising.

5 thoughts on “Put me in the stocks – I am being threatened by council officers who are scheming Ludlow’s future in secret

  1. Yes, democracy is hard work and essential for happy communities. The day of reckoning will be post brexit.

  2. Can you say who actually sent the e-mail, surely the officers also have a body which monitors their conduct. Threats and intimidation are also wrong in the workplace.

  3. Keep speaking out – people need to know the facts behind Council decisions. You are in good company – Socrates said we must always challenge “democracy” if it is to work properly…but he was made to drink a cup of hemlock in the end!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the Captcha *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.