Green warning over Labour-led council’s ‘shadow’ Board undermining democracy

Exeter Green Party Councillor, Diana Moore, has expressed her deep concerns over the lack of openness, transparency and accountability in a new Board established by Labour-led Exeter City Council. Last year the Council established a new body, ‘The Place Board’, to govern the development of new housing plans under the banner of the ‘Liveable Exeter Garden City development.’ The plans would see 12,000 houses being built, with a large proportion of these in Cllr Moore’s ward of Exeter St David’s. Writing in a blog post, Cllr Moore describes the new Place Board as a ‘‘shadow Council within the Council.” She says: “Collaborative working with a wide range of partners is, of course, necessary to achieve change. But it feels as if Labour are setting up a shadow Council, within – yet beyond the reach of – the Council and its elected members. And in the process forgetting the important principles of openness, transparency and accountability that underpin democracy. These principles are critical to ensure that elected representatives, and the communities they serve, can hold the Council to account and ensure they are working in the interests of residents that elected it.” The Labour-led council have also now assigned the Place Board to adopt the Covid-19 recovery plan for the city as well as head up the city’s response to the climate emergency. Cllr Moore added: “I’ve not heard anything from this body. I’ve asked to see minutes of meetings and have been refused. It seems to me a basic courtesy, let alone a democratic right, for councillors to be told who has been appointed to the Place Board and what they are doing.”


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