Suffolk CC "forgets" to invite anyone to Stradbroke Budget Consultation Meeting

Last night 12 people turned up to Suffolk County Council's budget consultation meeting in Stradbroke. It was amazing it was that many people. You see having gone to the trouble of holding the meeting as part of the "we are listening" exercise there was just one small thing they forgot to do. Invite anyone to attend.

Except that claim they did invite people and according to Head of Communications Simon Higgins the fact I didn't know about the meeting until lunchtime today is my fault for not reading to the end of this press release.

In the end the protestations of Suffolk County Council began to sound like the scene in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the protagonist Arthur Dent is laying in front of a bulldozer about to demolish his house. A Council official is claiming the plans were displayed for nine months in the planning office but Dent poins out they were in the cellar, in a filing cabinet in a toilet with a warning sign saying "beware of the leopard".

As Dent says "you had not exactly gone out of your way to draw attention to them have you, like telling anyone".

Inexplicably Cllr Guy McGregor had failed to even mention this meeting was taking place when he gave his report to Stradbroke Parish Council last week. It was confirmed by a District Councillor present that he also did not mention it at at least two other parish council meetings.

Eventually Cllr Guy McGregor offered to hold another meeting and actually tell people when it was taking place.

Mid Suffolk District Council were also part of this meeting (having been invited yesterday) and the presentation they gave put the County Council to shame as they actually seemed to be interested in a genuine conversation and brought along a knowledgable senior officer.

It is a shame they did not just apologise at the start and just agree to hold another meeting. I hope the next meeting is more of a success. It beggars belief that an organisation that tells us it has "corporate overheads" of more then £60 million a year seems unable to organise a meeting.

There was actually some interesting discussion at the meeting about care homes, education and housing in particular and it is certainly a step forward that the meeting was held at all.  You can read my Live Tweets on Wikisuffolk.
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