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Hammerwich Conservative councillor hits back at Labour’s silent protest at Lichfield District Council

A Conservative councillor has hit back following a ‘silent protest’ by his Labour rivals at Lichfield District Council.

The opposition group refused to speak at a meeting of the full council, leading to the session ending after just 20 minutes.

The Labour leadership said the protest had been used to highlight the inactivity of many members of the ruling Conservative group.

Cllr Doug Pullen

Cllr Doug Pullen

But Cllr Doug Pullen, Cabinet member for community said: “It’s sad to see the Labour group offering no opposition – Jeremy Corbyn is clearly having an influence.”

His comments drew criticism from Cllr Sue Woodward, the Labour group leader at Lichfield District Council, who said Cllr Pullen had missed the opportunity to fight the corner of his constituency.

“So says the Hammerwich councillor who failed to raise residents concerns on development on the green belt proposed for his ward,” she said.

But Cllr Pullen denied any suggestions he had been silent on the issue.

“Burntwood Action Group, Hammerwich Action Group and anyone at Cabinet will testify to how vocal I have been,” he said.

The Labour group’s whip, Cllr Diane Evans said the protest had been necessary to highlight the need for improved questioning of decisions by all members of the council.

She said: “The Conservative group have even blocked moves to improve the scrutiny system at Lichfield District Council, which Labour has had to press for following a poor review.

“Now we have the call-in of the green waste charge which we feel is a cynical move to try to deflect criticism. They didn’t listen to Labour members when we were raising objections at the two scrutiny meetings but I hope they’ll start listening to us now.”

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  1. The Teach

    13th April, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Cllr. Pullen did ask some questions of the planners at the cabinet meeting of the 7th March in a half-hearted way. He did not follow through about use of existing brownfield sites though. He may have talked privately to members of BAG, but neither he nor Cllr Fisher have signed the online petition which was featured on these pages recently. In fact Cllr Fisher mentions The Green Belt in her campaign material and even used a quote from an email asking her to sign the petition at the cabinet meeting – “we want to build a better Burntwood and not just a bigger Burntwood.”

  2. Steve Norman

    13th April, 2017 at 9:39 am

    But when did the ward councillors speak out? When the Green Belt policy was going through the Local Pan process last year or a few weeks ago after the horse had bolted and BAG had publicised the threat so well? Here is the chance for the district councillors for the two areas affected directly to put the record straight. The green Belt Reviews were in 2012 and in 2016.

    When did they lobby their Member of Parliament to protest about their Government’s guidance on using green belt land, when needed, for the housing allocation?

    When did they speak up? When it really mattered, as BAG did, when the policies on the Green Belt sites were being formed?

  3. Sue Woodward

    13th April, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Correction: we didn’t “refuse” to speak. We just didn’t make any comments on the reports, as 90% of the Conservative Group do at Council meetings.

  4. Concerned Citizen

    13th April, 2017 at 11:24 am

    How many contributions at Council meetings has Councillor Pulled made on topics outside his Cabinet remit?

    In fact, what is Cllr Pullen’s attendance record? Is he in the 100% group?

    It seems to me that the majority of LDC Councillors of all Parties are not up to scratch. I only hear from mine when there is an election pending…even then they do not canvas on the door step but send bland pamphlets telling me how diligent they are…utter tosh when you see their attendance levels. I wish we could throw them all out and start afresh with folks who are interested in making Lichfield, Burntwood a better place to live.

  5. The Scribbler

    13th April, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I’m afraid this reinforces the points being made on the original “silent protest” post.

    We still don’t care about your playground politics.

    Argue amongst yourselves all you like, it isn’t doing anything positive for the people who live, work and vote in the district.

  6. Mojo

    13th April, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I agree with Concerned Citz. It seems the only time we actively see our representatives is when they beg for our vote. No leaflets or anything throughout the year.

    I despise the BAG and how it continues to band together with Fisher + Pullen for protection of the Green Belt, without realising that it’s their own party pushing the policy.

    As mentioned on another article, the Cons are clearly putting on a show in Lichfield meetings, in-order to turn around and say “see! we tried”.

    The “Silent Protest” is a pitiful method of opposition. I know it was to show the inefficiency of the Cons, but we know the whole system is inefficiency. Stacked with older pensioners, whom are mostly disconnected with the modern world, and are pushed into running by their party, for the sake of ‘maintaining control”.

    To bare in mind: MR Pullen is on Burntwood and Lichfield Councils, MRS Pullen is on Burntwood, Lichfield(?) and now running for Staffordshire. She does not attend many meetings, but is happy to take tax money, and is seeking more of it -£££.

  7. Doug Pullen

    13th April, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    @Concerned Citizen –

    82% attendance, so “must try harder” (although that doesn’t include all the meetings I attend, clearly).

    Happy to sit down and meet with you and talk through the personal interest and personal effort I put into making Lichfield District a better place.

    There is an opportunity to throw me out in 2019 – the beauty of democracy.

  8. Toast

    13th April, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    The problem with the current system is the Cons could stand a turd for election and the greys would elect it.

    Still, if the social care budget keeps getting slashed then it won’t be long before the lifelong Tories will have no life left in them.

  9. Jesus

    13th April, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It won’t change Toast.

    My generation (under 30s) have little care for any governance. We know how crap the system is. We do try and get heard but get shunned by the aged-establishment-ism of the parties.

    It’ll just get to the point when they pass their expiry date, and we’ll have the odd 1 or 2 activists on the councillor, along with which ever bodies the parties can prop up in a seat.

  10. Rob

    13th April, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    I’d have thought lifelong labour voters would be more dependent on the social care budget and Tories pay for themselves.

  11. Concerned Citizen

    13th April, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    @Doug Pullen
    I am not one of your constituents so they will be better placed to assess your effectiveness. 82% is a good record when compared with some of your colleagues ….But how many contributions have you made to Council discussions on topics outside your Cabinet responsibilities? How many constituents have you assisted? How have you made Lichfield a better place? What makes you an effective representative of your constituents?
    Based on my experience of local Councillors, the vast majority are stooges (there are exceptions) who are willing to have the title and the allowance but do little else. In 20 years in Lichfield I have never seen my LDC Councillors on the doorstep nor have they sent out updates on what they are doing. Why should I vote for them when they religiously follow Central Govt diktat on expenditure cuts and seem not to care about local needs?

  12. Steve

    14th April, 2017 at 11:02 am

    This is not aimed at anyone in particular.

    I do find it disappointing that certain of our elected representatives seem to take such a confrontational attitude to their constituents. I always thought the council and councillors were there to help local residents.

    The council seems to do less, they charge us more each year and there is no respect from either side. It is very confrontational. The council has become a business (and not a very nice one). Money and budgets dictate everything. There is no interest in people, only targets and budgets.

    The party political system is a major issue. The local or national party decide who the electorate get to choose from. They may not be the best person, just a friend, relative or someone else to whom favours are owed.

    If you look at a number of consultations about new local developments, the local community have been very for or very against. Then the opposite decision is taken. Lichfield is becoming little more than a glorified car park at times, with too much traffic, road works, builders vans, lorries and deliveries blocking many roads.

    Soon environmental targets will be missed for air quality and a new issue will present itself.

    Ministers in London making decisions about the local area is crazy. I doubt Sajid Javid has ever been in the local area. He then makes decisions that he will not have to live with. Local residents, will.

    Lichfield City and Trent Valley are pushed to their capacity limits. Yet more and more homes are built and no local infrastructure improved. There is no effort to create the jobs that local people need to live in the areas. There are minimum wage jobs. Not good quality, high paying jobs. Try and buy a home in Lichfield and earn £8.20 an hour. I am sure Friarsgate will now be mentioned. It will create ” 900 full and part-time jobs, the equivalent to 600 full-time jobs” Most at minimum wage.

    The disruption, mess and inconvenience will be the end for a number of the current shops in Lichfield. Years of mess and disruption, people will avoid the area.

    I hope we are all after the same. We all want the best for Lichfield, Burntwood and the local area. Can we work together and listen to each other? Rather than waste so much time and effort on pointless arguments and protests.

  13. Steven Nornan

    14th April, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Just for the record the candidates (under Labour Party rules) are chosen by those members living in that ward or County Divison etc. who are on the electoral register. Nominations are by secret ballot as is the final selection – after a presentation and questions. The secret ballot ensures candidates are chosen on merit – it’s up to the wider electorate to decide if it was a good choice or not.

    The “party system” is inevitable: an “independent” has omly one vote. As with the current opposition to the theat to our green belt in Burntwood people with the same objects in mind end up working together if they want to effective.

    However, without proportional representation in some form supporters of smaller parties, are disenfranchised – and that is not good in my view.

  14. Darryl

    16th April, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I agree with Toast.

    The grey vote in Lichfield holds the balance of power, Self-centered, short-termism disenfranchises the younger generation who have to live with the consequences of a beleaguered social system, hammered by Conservative derived, libertarian policies.

  15. Philip John

    17th April, 2017 at 7:09 am

    The party system is not inevitable. Take a look at Epsom and Ewell, Orkney, Shetland, Pembrokeshire, Powys – all councils run by independents freed from any party loyalty and able to concentrate on serving residents, not a political party.

    Something New, the party I’m standing with, demands no loyalty from me beyond the values I, and any member, can help to shape. We don’t even want to exist. We’re using Something New to get the word out, to get elected, to change the electoral system and then get rid of the party.

    Anyone (including non-members) can also contribute to our manifesto, or even stand for election with it as an independent. We’d love to see people do that and would happy to help. No party loyalty, just trying to elect people under a crowd-sourced, collaborative and consensual manifesto.

  16. APPLE9686

    18th April, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Here Here Steve Lichfield will become grid locked (sorry it already is) Friarsgate will cause havoc while being built and result in traffic chaos. People won’t come to Lichfield because they won’t be able to get in.The infrastructure is abysmal.

  17. Steven Nornan

    19th April, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Can I assume Doug Pullen will not be telling Lichfield Live when he and his Burntwood colleagues opposed his council’s plan to allow building on the green belt as I asked on the 13th of April? Was it when the Green Belt Reviews where being considered, and when it really mattered, or when the public’s anger was growing over what they believed they were told by the Conservatives – that “the Green Belt will be protected”?