Council under fire over Top Field secret dealings

A COUNCIL has come under fire, after it was revealed that no reports or information exists on its dealings with Top Field owners, the Hitchin Cow Commoners – even though one of its members is elected to the trust.

A Freedom of Information request shows that cow commoner Cllr Richard Thake, elected by North Herts District Council (NHDC), does not have to report to anyone at the council on dealings with the trust.

There is no formal reporting mechanism, and therefore no requirement to compile any reports.

Robin Dartington, who submitted the FOI, said: “It’s all a bit of a nonsense.

“We think the priorities are wrong. We think his primary role is to be the representative of people who elected him.”

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It is not thought that Cllr Thake attends any meetings held by the trust.

“It seems a complete waste of time,” added Mr Dartington.

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“It’s very clear at Hitchin committee meeting he is very much the leading councillor with anything to do with development, so it’s a serious omission.”

Chris Parker, from Keep Hitchin Special, said: “What they are saying is that any councillor who resides on an outside organisation doesn’t have to provide any reports to anybody.

“It seems to me as if they are not accountable to anybody.”

David Miley, NHDC democratic services manager, said: “There is no formal mechanism by which any member reports back to council in their capacity as NHDC representative on an outside body.

“This is the case for the 60 or so outside bodies which NHDC councillors are nominated to every year.”

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