Residents question new forum format

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ORGANISERS of the new format Erewash Borough Council community forums were put on the spot at the first of the new meetings when asked why the number of forums has been slashed.

Residents asked council officers why the number of forums had gone from 16 a year in four locations to just four in two locations.

Ian Marsden, consultation officer at Erewash Borough Council, said: “We did hold a public consultation and redesigned the forums as a result of the feedback we received.

“Feedback we did receive was conclusive, residents told us that forums as they were weren’t very well advertised and weren’t very well known.

“What we found before was that residents of the areas of wherever the meeting was held attended and others didn’t.”

But people at the meeting, held at the Arena Church on Wednesday night, argued that their chance to voice concerns about local issues has been taken away.

Cllr Michelle Booth said: “There would be 30 or 40 people at the meetings when they were held in Kirk Hallam, a lot more people than are here tonight.”

Cllr David Stephenson, added: “There are 24 members of the public here tonight plus 14 people who are paid to be here, either councillors like myself or officers. The fact is if people don’t want to attend then they won’t.”

The next Ilkeston and North Community Forum takes place on Monday September 17.