Notes of a committee meeting to discuss progress with our various plans
Eight of us met this week to discuss progress and make plans for forthcoming event. This is to keep the wider membership in the picture and is not meant to be an authoritative minute of the meeting. Also present were three members of RSA.
The main topic of conversation was around the next Talkshop event and we spent some time reviewing 60 cards with suggestions and possible projects. Some were of limited relevance to Salisbury but we still managed to identify two dozen possibles from the full list. After lengthy discussion we boiled it down to 4 possible topics:
- Trying to include the voices and views of the ‘unheard’. These are people who are marginalised, who do not feel politics is for them, that their views are unwanted or who simply cannot engage because they cannot get out in the evening for example.
- Involvement in the budgeting process. This might be ambitious since local government financing is highly technical and heavily constrained by Treasury rules. It was once said that only four people in the country understood local government finances and one of those was dead. It is worth serious consideration however as what is in the budget determines what does and doesn’t get done. And why shouldn’t citizens be involved?
- Citizens’ juries and the need for: hardly any need to expand on this as it is our raison d’être.
- Involving young people. It will be the young who inherit what we do now and their world is quite different from the generations which went before. Yet they are seldom seen when decisions are taken.
We then spent some time discussing invitees which will include local politicians, Area Board people, Chambers, TUs. We discussed publicity and it will include posters in schools, the WCA newsletter, Transition City and no doubt others will be added at the planning stage. It will be a ticketed event.
The objective was agreed: ‘to develop a set of policy objectives or projects involving local people and which could be implemented by Salisbury City Council and if necessary, Wiltshire Council’.
It will run in Brown Street on May 27th from 10:00 ’till noon prompt.
It was brought to the group’s attention that in the last edition of The Planner, the journal of the Royal Town Planning Institute, there was a leading article on the subject of community involvement and citizen’s assemblies. It is likely that officers in WC planning dept. will have seen the article and it was agreed we would write to the head of planning suggesting a meeting to discuss. Update: letter sent 18th March copy below.
Consultation on the local plan was well underway and it was queried whether we should make some kind of response. The plan was well advance it was noted and it was suggested there were a number of shortcomings which will make its implementation problematic. See an earlier post and see also a response to our letter lamenting the lack of a citizens’ assembly during the preparation phase.
Eco Hub stall
We shared a stall in February in the Market Place and the results were a little disappointing. For next time the lessons learned were: sharing a stall does not work; there were too few flyers and we need something similar to the Brexitometer run by Salisbury for Europe that is, a board with options or questions to engage passers by.
People in the Park
Whether we should have a stall at this event again was discussed but the cost of insurance – which exhibitors have to pay themselves this year, means it is no longer viable.
The last café was run the previous Saturday in the new venue in the Library. This had been a success although if numbers grew too large it might be a problem. The next meeting is on 8 April. A report of the last meeting can be read here.
Generally we felt it had been a worthwhile meeting and plans for the second Talkshop look exciting. The next planning meeting is on 18 April at 14:00 probably in Brown Street (to be confirmed).