Wiltshire Publications

WHN 438 – First meeting set for Area Board

WESTBURY’s new Wiltshire Council ‘Area Board’ is to launch on next month.

The innagural meeting will be held at the Labour Club at 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd July. The Westbury board will be chaired by cllr Russell Hawker. Vice chair is cllr David Jenkins. The board is open to members of the public.
Cllr Hawker said, “We will be identifying and prioritising key community issues for action in close liaison with town/parish councillors, key community groups and the public who want to get involved.”
Area boards will form a key part of the decision- making structure of Wiltshire Council and ensure local decisions about local issues are made locally. These new style meetings will identify issues of genuine local concern and respond quickly and effectively with practical local action.

The board will meet every two months and will be encouraged to reach decisions by consensus, where possible, so that all participants are involved in the process subject to the final approval of the democratically elected unitary councillors.
Local people will be able to sign up for e-mail alerts about what is happening with their local area board and a forward plan of forthcoming agenda items will be available.
Early pilot schemes showed that facilitated round-table discussions were popular with both the public and councillors and that meetings in the evening at accessible local venues with light refreshments were preferred by the majority of participants. Members of the public also welcomed the opportunity to discuss issues directly with councillors and partners before decisions were taken.
Sue Redmond, corporate director for community services said, “The pilot phase of the area boards was extremely useful in terms of finding out what works best for local people. We have made sure that all the positive feedback is taken on board when setting up the area boards across the county.
“These meetings will provide an opportunity for local people to take part in discussions about important local issues and offer possible suggestions and solutions.”