A key tenet of democracy is the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life. As such, TWBC have a duty to give Constituents fair notice to in order to participate in public meetings.
It is now common practice for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to ask for comment over public holidays like Christmas, giving only a few days to reply on their planning portal (as happened with the Premier Inn application). Planning meetings open to Constituents are also scheduled during school holidays when people with young families are likely to be away – giving only 1 week’s notice to attend. The old cinema site, a major development for the town and one that has been under much criticism, will go to Planning Committee on 24th October, and yet the council only wrote to residents who had lodged comments 7 days prior.
Why is this the case? Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are asking for comment but placing obstacles in front of Constituents to actually do so. Is this what this council call ‘accessible’? Anyone would think they are trying to subvert democracy…….surely not!