OPPOSITION councillors have hit out at Labour-run Ashfield District Council for being ‘undemocratic’ after finding out they were excluded from a housing working group.
Selston Area Independent councillor Gail Turner and Liberal Democrat councillor Jason Zadrozny say having a Labour-only working group to discuss how cash in the housing revenue account is spent means that the needs of all residents in the district are not considered.
“Every councillor has council properties in their area. We feel that it shouldn’t just be up to the Labour Party to develop a policy on how this money is spent,” said Coun Turner.
“We have no way of feeding in our concerns and our ideas. We don’t even see any minutes - it’s a completely closed shop.”
The housing revenue account is one of the biggest pots of funding that the council is responsible for and is used to make improvements to council-owned houses in the district.
Coun Turner said that not only are the priorities of people in non-Labour areas not being put forward at this group, but it is not open and transparent. “It’s just not democratic,” she said.
Coun Zadrozny said that the group should be politically balanced or have its decisions put through full council.
“We don’t expect to be winning the argument all the time but we do expect and deserve to have some input,” he said.
When Chad contacted Ashfield District Council, no Labour members would personally comment, however a spokesman said: “The cabinet or a portfolio holder may on occasion choose to establish an ad hoc/informal working group to gather further information or consider potential courses of action or proposals, which have no statutory decision making capability and simply inform or make recommendations to the cabinet or portfolio holder, prior to them making a formalised decision.
“There are no formal requirements for any informal working group to be politically balanced or contain cross party representation.”