In an article in yesterday's Eastern Daily Press, Broadland District Council Leader, Simon Woodbridge alleged that he was "fairly sure" he had responded to a request from Stop Norwich Urbanisation to hold a local referendum - we can assure him that he did NOT respond. He goes on that he can't agree to a referendum that is going to be skewed - how can a local referendum be skewed? Aren't we in Broadland part of a democratic society? A referendum would ask local people what they want to happen in their area - skew comes when you expand your consultation to include people from all over the Broadland area or further expand it to ask folk and businesses from South Norfolk and Norwich to have their say too
He asks whether local schools would be involved - is he referring to the way in which Blofield Primary School children have been working on a project about how they would like to see a proposed site in their village be developed ? All this before villagers got to hear about the proposals via a flyer inviting them to a public consultation event on Saturday 16th October in the Margaret Harker Hall in Yarmouth (10.00am until 2.00pm). Local school children seem to have been given the courtesy of involvement in these projects which has not been extended to other residents.
We are sure that Mr Woodbridge is aware that it is not up to him to decide whether or not a referendum takes place. Under the 1972 Local Government Act, civil Parish Councils in England (Community Councils in Wales) can vote to request their local District Council to hold a referendum on any issue of concern to the local parish. Once the Parish Council has voted in favour, the District Council has to carry out the referendum.