Let me present you with one of the best comedies you have seen…really it is just comedy gold! This petition is so bad that two members of the Tories walked out of the meeting before it was even voted on – and it was their petition! One of those even denied signing it when they had AND were in the Brentwood Gazette photo call!
To quote planning chair Cllr Phil Baker: “Not only can you not run the council properly, you can’t even put a petition together!”
WATCH HERE (should start at 3h09m)
But let me explain:
- For nothing other than pure and overt political reasons, Cllr Louise McKinlay (former – thank goodness – leader of the council) put together a petition called “Hands off our green spaces”. Neither Cllr McKinlay or her deputy Cllr Roger Hirst were at the meeting.
- This was an attempt to mislead the people of Brentwood over the local development plan and trying to pretend that we – The Accord – are desperate to build on the green belt. The irony is that we have lost count of the number of green belt applications the Tories approved for the ten years they were in and that weeks prior to this they were planning to build 1500 homes on the green belt in West Horndon.
- This petition was aimed at only Hutton and rural areas – obviously they just don’t care about the town centre area such as Brentwood West where we really can not handle much more development. A crass political stunt.
- The petition referred to the “Lib/Lab coalition” – that doesn’t exist. The Accord is made up of three parties and an independent member. Factually incorrect again.
- The petition was worded wrongly – it spoke not of the green belt but the “green spaces” so where are we going to build the 5500 homes we must build? They clearly want to say no to every single development across the borough (ironic given that they wanted a green belt refusal recommendation overturned an hour earlier). That’s not helpful for those who wish to extend their homes.
- The Tories had a complete lack of understanding talking of “degrees of green belt”. This is made up. It is either green belt or it is not.
- During the debate, Cllr Henwood refused to confirm that she was a member of the Tories and stormed out of the meeting shouting at the chair (the second of the night)
- Infantile language was used in the petition that was, frankly, insulting to residents and the signatures were illegally gained as the wording was factually incorrect.
- The petition was so bad that even the three Tories were left at the meeting (after two had stormed out) didn’t support it at the vote!
- The petition was illegal according to the petition rules introduced by the Tories last year.
This is so embarrassing – and they ran the council for ten years up until May. Please Brentwood, don’t lose faith and vote the inept Tories back in in May. We are taking Brentwood forward and being honest and open with you as we go.