Dear Ms Doy
I refer to your letter dated 11th February regarding activity on our Blog site.
However before taking up the materiality of your request I have to reiterate that the residents of Broadland have a right to know what their elected members and paid officers are doing with the money that is directly and indirectly coming from their own pockets. The matter that you refer to was originally reported as a matter of public interest with the details provided by your own Freedom of Information officer in response to one of our numerous requests.
Indeed this response detailed all of the foreign travel that both officers and members have undertaken at public expense including those that were sponsored or paid for in full by others. It does not however state whether the officers who travelled at the expense of others actually took annual leave or used their employed, and paid for by ratepayers, time during the trips. In addition it does not state whether the trips that were sponsored were recorded in the hospitality register or in the register of interests when contracts come up for renewal. We also believe that some of these trips have been to promote the Planning Policies of the GNDP.
My point is that like most things the devil is in the detail and your rather defensive letter makes SNUB members wonder what else we have not been told. We find it interesting that it was necessary for you to post an explanation on the Blog but chose to omit any reference to the size of the parties who went to China and why. Why is it not acceptable for a contributor to the Blog to comment?
This is a democratic country and freedom of speech is one of the many benefits of the Internet. We cannot see that you have provided just reason to deny the right of contributors to express their views. We are also very much aware that Broadland District Council continues to calumniate our campaign.
The very essence of a community campaigning group such as ours is the provision of a facility for local residents to have their say. We have been encouraged and heartened by the comments we have received from local residents where the positive comments and “Like” ticks far outnumber any negative comments. This level of appreciation provides us with validation of our campaign that continues to be underwritten by the local residents that we campaign on behalf of.
We feel therefore that after taking all of this into consideration and after discussion with colleagues in the Core of SNUB that it would be inappropriate to remove or edit the comment you refer to although we will reinforce our monitoring for future postings. You should also be aware that we will, in the interest of total transparency, post your letter and this response on our Blog.
Stop Norwich Urbanisation
NB Ms Doy's letter can be seen below