Wycombe Labour today demanded answers from Tory Councillors about their refusal to fund a Moveable Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS) for Disraeli. Funding was refused because Cllr Wendy Mallen, Tory County Councillor for Downley and Disraeli, said the Pastures Church was an unacceptable “host organisation” for the MVAS.
The Pastures Church provides the chair, premises and administrative support for the Disraeli Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) which wants to use the MVAS to help with speeding problems in Disraeli. As host organisation, it would own, maintain and insure the MVAS for the NAG.
Instead Cllr Mallen approved a proposal from Cllr Maz Hussain, Tory Councillor for Disraeli. He proposed that Wycombe Conservative Association should be the host organisation. This proposal was referred to Bucks County Council’s monitoring officer who is responsible for ensuring BCC’s money is spent with propriety. The monitoring officer ruled that Cllr
Hussain’s proposal was an improper use of BCC funds.
Cllr Valerie Letheren, the Tory Chairman of the Local Area Forum (LAF), the body which considered the funding application for the MVAS, then decided to withdraw the application altogether.
Cllr Khalil Ahmed, Labour Councillor for Disraeli, said “I am very disappointed for the residents of Disraeli that the Tories have scuppered any hope of getting a MVAS for Disraeli for at least a year.
Residents have complained about speeding on a number of roads in Disraeli – along the Pastures, and Coates Lane for example. The Disraeli NAG has been asking for a MVAS for a year now to help with the problem.
The proposal for funding for the Disraeli MVAS was the top priority for the LAF. Officials recommended its approval. The money was there. All it needed was a host organisation - and the Pastures Church seemed eminently suitable given the tremendous help it has given in setting up and chairing the NAG and its central place in the Disraeli community.
So what I want to know now is why Cllr Mallen finds the Pastures Church unacceptable.
I want to know why she didn’t have the common decency and courtesy to let me know and discuss it with me.
More importantly, I want to know why she didn’t have the decency to let the Chair of the NAG know and discuss her reservations with him. Clllr Mallen knows how hard the Pastures Church has worked to set up the NAG, to get everyone on board right across the community and to get consensus on its priorities.
I want to know why she had time to discuss her objections with her Tory colleagues before she went on holiday but not with me and not with the members of the Church and the NAG.
Second, I want to know why Cllr Mallen approved a proposal from Cllr Maz Hussain which was obviously inappropriate and improper.
I want to know why Cllr Hussain made that proposal in the first place.
I want to know why I wasn’t informed about his proposal in writing as soon as he proposed it and given the opportunity to discuss before it was approved.
Third, I want to know why Cllr Letheren, Chairman of the LAF, decided to withdraw funding before the LAF meeting and provided no opportunity to discuss or influence the decision. I was told just before the meeting that she would not change her mind.
I want to know why she waited until just before the meeting to tell me that Cllr Mallen found the Pastures Church unacceptable, a meeting Cllr Mallen was unable to attend because she was on holiday.
Why didn’t she tell me before Cllr Mallen went on holiday so I could discuss it with her?
Finally, I want to know why we have the same old way of Tories doing business - with decisions taken in secret before the public meeting so there is no chance to discuss the decisions or influence them.
I want to know why their decision-making is such a shambles. And why they don’t know - or care – whether their proposals are improper or not.
Why do they show such arrogance and lack of support towards Disraeli residents and the community?
In the end, all they have done is take away any chance of Disraeli getting a MVAS in the
foreseeable future. We could have had it now. “