Saturday, 8 May 2010

Club Brazilia - going too far?

I have withdrawn from a licensing hearing in case my views on late night licences might be considered “biased”.

I was due to take part in a decision over Club Brazilia’s application to close at 4.30am on Thursdays to Saturdays. However, following guidance from the Standards Board I have reluctantly decided to pull out of the panel of three councillors hearing this application.

I am well known for questioning late drinking hours and have particularly spoken up about establishments competing with each other for later and later closing times. I have done so because many of my residents have to put up with the noise and anti-social behaviour of some when leaving these establishments, and they rightly expect me to do something about it.

According to the Standards Board, councillors who have definite views about issues they are making decisions about must be open to alternative arguments, or they may be perceived to be biased.

I do not believe ever-later closing times beyond 3am can be good for the town’s residents, and however open-minded I am I cannot imagine being persuaded that they are. It would be foolish to compromise myself or the panel’s decision by pretending otherwise, and if that means I’m thought biased then so be it.

It is a sad state of affairs when an elected representative is not allowed to make decisions which represent the views of his electorate, but this will certainly not stop me from supporting those views wherever I can.

Club Brazilia’s application will be heard on 13th May at 4pm. The Standards Board is now known as Standards for England. Specific guidance on bias can be found at:
http://www.standardsforengland.gov.uk/Guidance/TheCodeofConduct/Guidance/Topicguides/PredispositionPredeterminationorBias/

2 comments:

Bury Boy said...

Take a leaf out of your chief execs book, and act for the electors rather than trying to meet unelected officials critia. We elected you to serve us, your views are and were known, we expect you to air these views in such committees, NOT to do so is a abuse of democracy. If its not too late, and being an educated person, open to argument, you have every right to hear this application.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Thanks for your confidence in me BB, but I do not want to be part of a decision which may be open to question (and appeal) because I have said in the press that I am against establishments competing for later and later closing times.

This does not stop me expressing my (and my electors') views TO those making the decision at such a hearing.