We would like to point our readers to another website or otherwise miss an opportunity to witness how a democratically elected councillor from the ruling party conducts himself in public life.
Comments from an account attributed to Councillor David Owen on the
neighbourhood website, STREETLIFE, have attracted criticism from his
fellow Streetlife contributors.
Cllr Owen (below)
responding to an account which appears to belong to
Councillor Laura Sullivan, a Green Party member of the Hythe Town Council. Cllr
Sullivan is consulting with Streetlife members on plans by HTC to review
its 5 year plan. Three Streetlife members have described Cllr Owen as
Laura S: “[..] I am a minority Counsellor.However I can attend any committee in the Council and speak. I can make sure other Councillors hear people’s views.”
David O: “While Councillor Mrs Sullivan may feel that she is a “minority” Member of Hythe Town Council, it is the decision of the Conservative majority of HTC to update the Hythe Town Plan. The current Aims & Objectives Committee has held a Meeting to get this started and as soon as the Annual General Meeting has taken place, the new Committee will be meeting to commence the work necessary. It is possible that I may be a member of the Committee and, in which case, I will certainly welcome constructive suggestions going forward.”
Laura S: “Is it not the decision of the Aims and Objectives Committee? I
am not aware of a decision being made at Full Council yet?”
David O: “As I would have hoped you realise by now all Committees
decisions have to be ratified by Full Council .Aims and Objectives will after
consultation and discussion put forward a proposed document to Full
Council for decision.”
Cllr Sullivan was elected in May 2015, having secured more than half of
the individual votes cast in the Hythe South Ward of Hythe Town Council. She
has been a councillor for a little under a year.
Cllr Owen was elected in 2007 and wears several hats. He is a Hythe Town
Councillor, chairman of HTC’s Finance & General Purposes committee, a
member of 6 other HTC committees, a Shepway District Councillor, Deputy
Chairman of Shepway District Council and he sits on not less than 6 other
SDC committees. He is represents SDC on two outside bodies: Rail for
Folkestone and Folkestone Sports Advisory Board. In 14/15 Cllr Owen received £8054.04 as an SDC Cllr. In Feb he voted to increase his allowance by 32% while frontline SDC staff can only receive a 1% rise. It is clear that Cllr Owen takes his role in
public life very seriously and he is no doubt very dedicated to his community.
It is such a shame therefore to see such a high standing member of the
community accused of being patronising to a fellow councillor. Members of
the public may also have witnessed Cllr Owen’s patronising tone when he
addressed a fellow councillor at a public meeting during discussions on
the ill-fated swimming pool on The Green proposal.
In that same Streetlife conversation, an contributor believed to be
Councillor Ashley Tanton (Green Party), a relative newcomer to cut and
thrust of local politics, picks up on a point made by Cllr Owen, seemingly
in defence of his set-upon Green colleague:
Ashley T “David O I would like to pick up on your point “*[..] it is the decision of the Conservative majority of HTC to update the Hythe Town
Plan*” – when did the “Conservative majority” decide this?”