A COMMUNITY group has been left ‘incredulous’ after being kicked-off from the group deciding the future of St Mary’s Lands in Warwick.
The Friends of St Mary’s Lands has temporarily been removed from the St Mary’s Lands Working Party after refusing to reveal the some 200 members which make up its committee.
The working party includes representatives from Warwick district and town councils, Warwickshire County Council, Warwick Racecourse, and the Warwick Society, to name a few.
But district councillor Noel Butler, who is a member of the group, says the Friends’ group refused to reveal who its chair is and that an email sent to members questioned the integrity of the working party.
He said: “The working party was set up to try to help resolve conflicting issues and find a way to agree an overall vision and a plan of action to improve this historic open space.
“Communication and respect between the members of the working party is essential as questions arise and ideas are discussed. That has become a problem with the Friends’ now only speaking via one new person and we do not know if that voice is truly representative.
“I would like the Friends’ to be an active and positive member of the working group and the invitation to re-join remains on the table should it change its stance by agreeing to be open about its committee membership and by apologising for its recent circular.”
But the Friends’ group says it was shocked to have been removed.
Speaking on behalf of the The Friends’ committee, Linda Bromley said: “The committee and its members were incredulous at the decision to remove our representation on the working party.
“What purpose would it serve for our committee members’ names to be made public? Our committee was legitimately elected at its AGM.
“Since then we have been reflecting our some 200 members’ opposition to a hotel, additional parking on St Mary’s Lands, changes to the proposed cycle route and the name change.
“We do support the majority of the proposals but do not agree with Warwick District Council on the latter proposals. Is this why we are being excluded and the voice of Warwick residents to be unheard during discussions on the future of St Mary’s Lands?
“In our opinion, this decision is divisive and heavy-handed. We ask Coun Butler to reinstate our representation to the working party in the interests of the community of Warwick.”