Allotment tenants in Connah's Quay seek 'genuine' consultation with town council after explosive meeting

Reporter:

David Humphreys

Allotment users want “genuine” consultation between themselves and a town council following an explosive debate.

As members of Connah's Quay Town Council considered a report on an eye-opening meeting between themselves and Mill Lane Allotment Association (MLAA) representatives in July, Anthony Wren, central ward member and allotment user, said plot holders just wanted to engage with the town body properly.

Town clerk Steven Goodrum presented members with a report following July’s town council meeting, in which MLAA chairman Bill Crease accused councillors of denying residents the same provisions as “Third World countries”.

Mr Crease, who is believed to have stepped down as group chairman, said the town council had “persistently” been misleading about the behaviour of allotment members and attempts had been made to block the MLAA from the community asset transfer process.

He claimed members of the allotment association were misled by the previous town council over planning permission for sheds at Mill Lane, a situation he branded “strange”.

An investigation was held by the town council into Mr Crease’s accusations and comments which formed the basis of Mr Goodrum’s report – an agenda item for the town council’s September meeting on Wednesday.

The report said: “In May 2017, the chairman of MLAA requested an audience with the town council to outline the aims and aspirations of the membership (of MLAA) over the short to medium term.

“What actually took place was a verbal attack directed at several councillors present and a number of accusations were levelled at the council relating to the management of the Mill Lane Allotment site.

“It is important for the town council to consider the issues and allegations made at the meeting of July 5, 2017, in an impassioned way to determine whether there is any substance to them, and consequently whether any action is required by the council.”

Responding briefly to the report, allotment holder and newly-elected member Cllr Wren said: “Genuine consultation is what’s needed here.

“Last time, there was an alleged period of consultation and we [allotment users] never sat down with the council until everything was ratified.

“This time, I look forward to a genuine sit down and that is the general feeling among most tenants.”

Mr Goodrum’s report recommended a review should be held to determine whether lessons can be learned from the council’s involvement in the community asset transfer process and efforts should be made to “explore ways to develop positive relationships with the MLAA and bring a report before council later this year outlining proposals to achieve this”.

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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