Meet-the-people surgeries carry on

PUBLISHED: 13:22 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:49 12 May 2010

COUNCILLORS are to continue running surgery sessions to meet the people – but the exercise will be reviewed at the end of a six-month period. Members of North Herts District Council s Royston area committee had been told that because of a lack of response

COUNCILLORS are to continue running surgery sessions to meet the people - but the exercise will be reviewed at the end of a six-month period.

Members of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee had been told that because of a lack of response the councillors' surgeries should be ended.

But committee chairman Councillor Fiona Hill said the sessions should continue so that residents had the opportunity of face-to-face meetings with councillors.

The once-a-month Saturday morning sessions began in February last year.

During that period councillors have met 39 residents or groups to discuss issues.

There were two sessions when no one attended to see councillors.

Over the past 17 months the surgeries have cost the district council more than £2,700 in advertising and the attendance of support staff.

A report to the committee recommended an end to the sessions, as there were other ways in which people could contact councillors.

Councillor Elizabeth Beardwell suggested that one session could be set up in Royston market.

She said: "We do not want to be accused of not being able to see people."

Councillor F John Smith said, however, that residents did not have any difficulty contacting councillors.

"Experience has shown that this has not been a useful way of being in touch with the public, although there is nothing to prevent councillors running their own individual surgeries," he said.

Cllr Smith added that the sessions could be revived if there was "a song and dance" from residents.

The committee decided, however, to run the sessions every two months and review the situation at the end of six months.

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