As I set out in an article for the Bucks Free Press in February, I am determined to create the right environment for a flourishing local democracy and a radical decentralisation of power. Today, via The Bucks Free Press, we see local democracy in action:
HUNDREDS of protesters marched through High Wycombe today with a clear message for council bosses – “say no to the stadium”.
Campaigners turned out in their droves to make their voices heard ahead of Monday’s key decision on the scheme by Wycombe District Council chiefs.
As I have said to councillors, protesters and advocates of the proposals, I believe entrepreneurial projects should be brought forward by entrepreneurs, not government at any level, and judged democratically under the planning system. With the Coalition’s plans for a decentralisation of power and the intended public service reforms in progress, it is absolutely vital that we have high levels of participation in local democracy: there will be greater freedom, greater transparency and greater local power.
Local communities will be able to use that power in a variety of ways. Some may wish to stop development; others may wish to deliver particular projects. In any event, MPs will have no authority to overturn local, democratic decisions. I was therefore delighted that, as Conservative activist Dr Marcus Wood put it on Twitter, “it was certainly the Big Society out in force!”
Good – now could not be a better time for Wycombe people to take a close interest in the deployment of local power. Wycombe District Council will hold a full Cabinet debate in public on Monday night, leading to a decision on the proposed sports village.