by Ian Shires on 20 May, 2009
Adversarial politics returned to Walsall Council Chamber after a break of almost 10 years reports Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Shires.
Scenes reminiscent of the 1990’s were rife as the new Mayor struggled to keep order and at one stage had to adjourn the meeting to restore his authority.
Feelings were running high over two major issues which have regularly been reported on this blog, namely the future of Sneyd School and the plans for four-lane running on the M6 between J8 and J10a.
The public gallery was jammed packed with students, parents, staff and residents to hear the debates on two opposition motions aimed at stopping the closure Sneyd and stopping the Highways Agency dumping M6 Emergency Rescue Areas (ERA’s) on residents back door steps.
The attempt to stop the closure of Sneyd failed, however talks are to take place in early June with the ministry in order to get across to them the full strength of local feeling.
The debate about the Highways Agency plans for the M6 degenerated into a slanging match as the Tories deliberately politicised something which should have seen all three groups uniting to support.
The council agreed to press for changes in the location of ERA’s so that they are not situated near peoples houses and introduce effective noise screening along this stretch of the motorway.
“I have to say that tonight’s meeting has done nothing to enhance the cause of democracy” said Ian. “At times I felt disgusted with the blatant politicisation going on in the chamber. Most of what was going on was about massaging egos rather than helping local people get what they want. Not a good night” concluded Ian.
Outside of the council chamber Ian reports that further takes are to take place with Highways Agency to try to hammer out the issue of the position of the ERA’s.2 Comments