COMMITTEE: Much to learn from public

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On Tuesday, September 6, myself and my family were privileged to attended an excellent lecture free of charge, hosted by Northumberland County Council.

The venue was County Hall and the agenda was the Strategic Planning Committee. Members of the public were invited to attend as observers.

When we arrived, events appeared to be carefully controlled.

We were there, in particular, to hear the determination of the Mitford Estates application with regard to land west of Lancaster Park.

I felt this was an educational opportunity for the younger people of Morpeth to engage in.

As a democratic community, we expected to hear a meaningful discussion in relation to the political and policy agendas determining the decision, delivered by educated and informed people, who are employed and paid as public servants.

We expected to hear informed dialogue, underpinned by evidence, to determine the decision.

Alas, we were disappointed.

We listened to presentations from councillors and members of the community, which were articulate, eloquent and prudent. Indeed, they received sustained applause.

Presentations from others did not.

Some relevant and cogent questions were asked by councillors, but only a minority.

Surprisingly, some of the answers provided by those esteemed individuals on the stage were not as coherent and clear as one would expect from public servants representing us.

The chairman of the event reprimanded the public to be silent, to not express opinion and to respect the members on stage. He further reiterated that the panel was bound by a code of conduct and it is a pity that the public were not bound by such a code.

My experience is to question his interpretation of his professional responsibilities, and in fact, the public audience was restrained in their reaction to such adverse discussion.

I am now told how to behave in a public arena and behave appropriately by such a moral and integrity driven leader, for which I am so grateful and appreciative. I will do my utmost to abide by his teachings.

The public audience demonstrated dignity and decorum so in fact we learned a great deal more from them.

My family learned much about decorum and how to behave, not from Northumberland County Council, but from the general public, who remained dignified and credible when silenced and forced to hear such guff.

This is only my evaluation; other individuals in attendance may have similar or differing opinions.

Mrs Fisher

Address supplied