Villagers miss out as Shepway meet elsewhere

Contributed by editor on Feb 12, 2004 - 12:24 PM


Plans to hold a Community Assembly of the full Shepway Council and Council Officers at the Hawkinge Community Centre have been scrapped after the manager of the centre Richard Robinson told the council that the hall was already booked.

It is now being rescheduled to visit Elham and Stelling Minnis instead.

The meeting would have given Hawkinge residents an opportunty to voice their views and concerns of local issues. A Shepway spokesman said that a roving microphone would have been passed around the meeting for people to ask questions and make comments.

Community Centre manager Mr Robinson told the Gazette that when Shepway approached him with the booking he was given the impression it was a normal Shepway Council Meeting and was not given details of the format.

Cllr John Heasman who is also o­n the Management Committee of the Community Centre knew nothing of the meeting and when the Gazette told him he said: "This is the first I have known about it."

Mr Heasman has subsequently made enquiries and said: "It's a pure misunderstanding as to how important this would have been to the village.

"I am going to be talking to Shepway council o­n Monday to see if it can be rearranged for another date.

"We will endeavour to pull out all the stops to ensure the Community Centre is available.

"I feel sure the Community Centre manager acted in good faith and was not aware of the importance of the meeting".

Parish council Chairman Cyril Trice was completely unaware of the Community Assembly and said: "It was an opportunity missed".

District and Parish Councillor David Callahan said: "I understand the Community Centre was already booked but I am most disappointed that the meeting could not be held there, especially after having spent £2m o­n the building".

A Shepway Council spokesman said: "We are very disappointed that the Assembly will not be held in Hawkinge.

"It is hoped there will be another opportunity to hold the Assembly in the village towards the end of the year".