Cllr Andy Smith and Cllr Iain Eadie

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Two ex-Cabinet members at Lichfield District Council have warned that the local authority needs to work for all of the community – insisting local elections give everyone a chance to “change things for the better”.

Cllr Iain Eadie and Cllr Andy Smith spoke out ahead of the local elections in May.

Cllr Andy Smith and Cllr Iain Eadie

They had previously served as part of the Cabinet but resigned after it emerged that the long-awaited Friarsgate scheme would not go ahead.

Cllr Eadie, who will again contest the Leomansley ward alongside Cllr Smith in May, revealed that his decision to resign from the leadership team was sparked by personal concerns.

“Regardless of how people want to vote on 2nd May, we hope everyone will take the opportunity to do that,” he said. “This is the vote on issues affecting where we live.

“Andy and I both stood down as having families we felt it was wrong not to bring forward the regeneration and to give all our young people the opportunities to go to the cinema where they live, or to be able to go to the places they would like.

“The district council needs to make sure it offers solutions for everyone.

“If people come out and vote on 2nd May it gives everyone, including our own local party, a chance to change things for the better.”

“More than just council and committee meetings”

One former Conservative councillor – who is now standing as an independent – has already called for more people to stand in order to ensure a broader perspective is introduced into decision making and better represent the district as a whole.

Lichfield District Council House

Cllr Smith said he believes it’s crucial that elected representatives are directly involved in their communities.

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“Being a councillor is more to us than just the council and committee meetings – not to mention the preparation meetings for these,” he said.

“Both Iain and I have also volunteered to be Governors at local schools. At the moment I am a Governor at both the Friary School and at King Edward school.

“We also volunteer our time outside of work and the council to support children’s sport in Lichfield. I know Iain is involved with coaching rugby at Lichfield Rugby Club, as well as helping on the committee that runs the club too.

“I do the same at Lichfield Round Table Football Club where I am the chairman – which can mean everything from cutting the grass to marking out the white lines.

“In Leomansley we are lucky to have an active resident’s association called LARA. As councillors we regularly attend their meetings and AGMs to discuss local issues and take on concerns our residents have.

“We have also taken part in the litter picks arranged between Lichfield District Council and LARA, as we want to look after where we live too.”

“It’s not all about tea and biscuits”

Cllr Eadie admitted that the councillors had perhaps “not done enough to keep residents informed” about the actions they have taken in representing the electorate – but insist that they have both been active members of both Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council.

“Lichfield District Council’s full council meets seven times in a year, with the main political parties holding a group meeting in advance of those meetings,” he explained. “Councillors are also appointed to overview and scrutiny committees that usually meet four times in a year.

“Councillors may be asked to be on more than one committee and councillors could also be on the Planning committee that meets usually every four weeks.

“Elected members will be expected to prepare for meetings by reading papers that can run on occasion to several hundred pages.

“Lichfield City Council also meets ten times a year, again with the political parties holding their own meetings in advance. All city councillors are on the planning committee that also meets usually every four weeks.

“Despite the fact we have been working hard to represent our residents and serve the whole of the district, we acknowledge won’t have done enough to keep our own residents informed as to what their councillors have been up to.

“For most people they only seem to hear from their councillors or candidates when they are looking for votes at election time.

“But we hope anyone coming onto the councils on 2nd May doesn’t believe it is all just tea and biscuits!”

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

7 replies on “Former Cabinet members warn council needs to work for all residents – insisting local elections are a chance to “change things for the better””

  1. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Councillors make statements when an election is imminent. And what do they tell? They are busy people with jobs, families, voluntary work commitments so how much time do they devote to District and City council work? They can’t have much time left for their constituents and council matters.

    What have they contributed to council activities? You never hear them mentioned at council meetings. Councillor Eadie was responsible for the brown bin tax. Councillor Smith has been the Mayor.

    Both of them were party to Friarsgate although they ran away from the Cabinet when the project foundered.
    Whilst on their watch, the council have approved multiple housing developments which will increase the District population but where are the facilities needed to support such growth? Where is the expansion of the infrastructure to cope with increased traffic, sewerage etc? The lack of insight means that their constituents suffer a lower quality of life with higher pollution, poorer air quality, crowded streets.

    Let’s hope this Council experiences a major change in May and Wilcox and his mates suffer a bloody nose. They have dragged down a wonderful city and district by supporting aborted vanity projects, failing to consider the needs of the wider district, getting into bed with developers, failing to apologise to the electorate for breaches of the standard of ethics expected of councillors. Such contempt for the electorate.

    And now they are trying to curry favour because an election is looming….do they think we were born yesterday?

  2. I preface this comment by saying I think both of these chaps are great guys, but having read this article earlier in the evening, gone away and had a think, and then read it again, I’m confused by the message.

    There seems to be acceptance that things need to change, and recognition that the elections are the opportunity for us all to vote for change. I get that part – makes sense, it’s what I’ve been saying for a while.

    But then it all goes a little awry and hence my confusion. In pushing for change, the message seems to be that people should vote for the same party again… A kind of “having made the mess, we’re now absolutely going to change to sort it out” message.

    What am I missing?

    Of course, I’m sure everyone is expecting me to pitch for people voting for change by voting independent and I don’t like to disappoint! It strikes me that the way to drive the change that Cllrs Eadie and Smith recognise is needed is to vote for difference, not the same. Especially in Chadsmead where you’ve got the opportunity (in me!) to have someone completely independent.

  3. You read reports. Well done. A number of residents would also like to read reports, but you hold secret meetings and stop us from seeing the truth.

    You have given us:
    Friarsgate
    Brown Bin Tax
    higher Council Tax
    unlimited housing developments
    outsourced numerous leisure centres and resources
    threatened to remove crossing wardens
    given us schools begging for resources
    a number of councillors being put on the naughty step, for not completing the Register of Interests accurately
    given millions to the CoE and closed down the library
    ignored accurate objections to developments

    It is not a list of acheievments. It’s an embarassment.

  4. I’m sick to death of local councillors moaning about the lack of time they have. If they don’t have enough time to effectively represent their wards, stand down. Or better still – cut back on the number of school governor roles, rugby coach roles, directorships you hold.

    As an adult – we are all expected to manage our time effectively. You have to question whether a man with children, standing as a councillor, school governor, football/Rugby coach, and who works full time can actually be effective as a councillor? I mean it’s commendable but the people who suffer from councillors speeding themselves too thin are local people.

  5. Yes I guess it’s more than just council and committee meetings, and I can imagine that even though you probably get through your fair share, it’s not all about tea and biscuits, but what this strikes me as being about is “look how great you we are”.

    In my eyes, you had your chance, you blew it, time for a change. The good point for you both is though, you will be able to spend more time volunteering and being everyday heroes.

    I and just to remind you, you do get paid for your time spent on council business by those who vote for you to represent them. Just saying because the above election time drivel makes me think the fact had slipped your memory.

    Just saying.

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