The Canterbury Society – Campaign for Local Democracy

See below for information about a meeting on the 5th February organised by the Canterbury Society


Invitation to a meeting
This is an invitation to an important meeting which is taking place at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 5th February. It is going to all residents’ groups and parish councils in the area, and we hope you will pass the invitation on to your members.

The meeting is being organised by the Canterbury Society on behalf of the Campaign for Democracy in the Canterbury District, which is a broad coalition of local groups concerned about the current way of running the Council.

Why is the meeting taking place?
There are two main ways in which Councils can work. Canterbury City Council has what is called a ‘Strong Leader and Executive’ system. This was adopted in 2002 when the government of the day made all councils choose between this and an elected Mayor. The aim was greater efficiency, but in practice it seemed to some residents that many decisions were being made by a small group of councillors without wider consultation.

The present government, in the Localism Act of 2011, gave councils the option of changing to another way of working, the ‘Committee System’. In this the Council forms a number of committees, each responsible for a particular area of interest. The committees make recommendations to the Council and more councillors are involved in making each decision. Some councils in other parts of the UK have already chosen to adopt the committee system.

What will happen at the meeting?
The meeting on 5 February will provide an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the two systems and to decide on future action. Speakers will include:
Richard King, former Chair of Kent County Council, who will discuss the options
Individuals who will present the case for the Executive and the Committee systems

The public discussion at this meeting will inform the views of the committee of the Campaign for Democracy in the Canterbury District. If there is support for change, this group will lead in organising a petition and a referendum to find out what system the residents of the Canterbury area would like.

When and where?
The meeting will take place at 7.30 pm at the United Reformed Church Hall in Watling Street in Canterbury (note change of venue from earlier publicity). So do come along to express your opinions and to hear what others think. Refreshments will be provided and everyone will be very welcome.