Peterborough LibDems Absent From Crucial Vote on Housing Expansion

08:26 Thursday 19th May 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Sounds like an interesting meeting last night. What was it like?
DARREN FOWER: Well I wasn’t there, so I’m afraid I can’t ..
PAUL STAINTON: You weren’t there?
DARREN FOWER: I wasn’t there. I was out in the ward I’m afraid. I was doing ward work.
PAUL STAINTON: Shouldn’t you be at Full Council meetings?
DARREN FOWER: You are supposed to go to Full Council meetings. However, if there is a requirement for you to do work in the ward, the ward takes priority. That’s a LibDem thing. It’s not ..
DARREN FOWER: Yesh, yeah. I’m afraid so. Yeah.
PAUL STAINTON: Shouldn’t you go and voto on the serious matters of the day? There weren’t any LibDems there at all, were there? Any LibDems.
DARREN FOWER: I don’t think either of Nick or Asif were there. But again, I believe they were doing work in their wards.
PAUL STAINTON: So a Full Council meeting voting on building 20,000 houses in this city, and not one LibDem councillor was there.
DARREN FOWER: That’s correct. To my understanding, I believe that’s true. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Don’t you find that a bit odd?
DARREN FOWER: I think it’s odd that we have things like local transport plans, local plans, that are quite clearly say, this City Council, this town will be doing certain things, at certain periods, and we don’t adhere to that. If we look at the developments elsewhere in the city, Hampton is a good one, where we’re behind schedule, and we’re forever hearing the press releases about don’t worry. Everybody is on the 10,000 waiting list. We’re going to build a house, or we’re doing a mortgage scheme and there’s a press release that went out to announce fantastically that one person had managed to be successful in the mortgage scheme. Well that’s great, but not for the 9,999 ..
PAUL STAINTON: No. But how do you influence Council decisions and Council policy, if you’re not there to vote? Have you just given up, because the Conservatives have got a big majority?
DARREN FOWER: We;llthere is no doubt that we do have a slightly imbalanced City Council. There’s 57 councillors. Well over 60% of those are Conservative. Yes there are some other minority parties. Yes there’s three of us. Ideally, it would be nice to go along to City Council meetings and have a fair debate and put your input in. You know, because knocking on the door, that’s where you get it, speaking to people ..
PAUL STAINTON: Don’t you think that the people who voted for you in Council elections would want you to go to Full Council meetings?
DARREN FOWER: Well I’m sure they do. And I do go to Full Council meetings. (LAUGHS) It’s not as though I don’t go to Full Council meetings.
PAUL STAINTON: It’s amazing that none of you went.
DARREN FOWER: Yeah, well, at the end of the day, you know, there are things and there is work that needs to be done in the ward, and it is dare I say I think more important to go and speak to people face to face on the doorstep than listen to the lectures of the Conservative controlled Council.
PAUL STAINTON: He’s Darren Fower. He’s LibDem councillor for Werrington. Not standing at this year’s elections, which means I don’t have to read out a long list of people’s names.