Uttlesford Community Forums are 'Vital' to air your views

PUBLISHED: 09:19 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

RESIDENTS have been urged to use a public meeting as a vital means in which to air their views. The Uttlesford Community Forums are specifically for the public - organisations that decide on transport, health and policing policies provide an update and ta

RESIDENTS have been urged to use a public meeting as a vital means in which to air their views.

The Uttlesford Community Forums are specifically for the public - organisations that decide on transport, health and policing policies provide an update and take questions.

Yet the forums have come under scrutiny over their cost effectiveness. The last meeting, in June, cost more than £1500 to run but attracted fewer than 50 members of the public.

However, chairman of the forum, Cllr Jan Menell, believes they are an ideal opportunity for people to "get things off their chest".

She said: "Through our community forums we have a real opportunity for residents to express their concerns; not a slanging match but a means by which the reasons for decisions that are made on behalf of the community are given, and can be questioned or challenged.

"The latest buzz term refers to 'community empowerment'. The idea of course is to encourage and engage residents, parish councillors and others in a dialogue with senior managerial staff for health, police, and highways, the district council and its councillors, in an effort to improve services by means of questioning their activities and bringing forward suggestions that could be taken on board.

"The answers may not always be the ones participants want but at least they have aired concerns or queried decisions and received some acknowledgement."

The next North Uttlesford Community Forum is being held in the Council Chamber at Uttlesford District Council's offices on London Road, Saffron Walden on September 10 at 7.30pm.

On the evening there will be presentations from Essex Police Divisional Commander for Uttlesford, Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley, Uttlesford District Council Chief Executive John Mitchell and NHS West Essex Director of Primary Care and Localities Toni Coles.

The evening starts with a short presentation from each panel member, followed with a round-table discussion.

"It is a real opportunity to bring forward many concerns or interest in public services with the panel of people who have the ability and the know-how to deliver," added Cllr Menell.

"Instead of sitting at home and writing a letter to the press about local services just think how much more worthwhile it would be to actually face the perpetrators and point out their misdemeanours, or praise their actions.

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