Council defends its reasons over 'ban' of Warwick-based group from meeting about St Mary’s Lands

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Warwick District Council has defended the claimed ‘ban’ of a Warwick-based group from a recently held meeting about St Mary’s Lands.

In January, the council held a St Mary’s Lands Working Party meeting, which involves various groups and representatives from the community.

Last week, The Courier was contacted by a representative from the management committee of the ‘Friends of St Mary’s Lands’ (FoSML) group saying it had been banned from attending the meeting.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the letter, it said: “Eight days before a meeting of the St Mary’s Lands Working Party, Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day advised the Friends of St Mary’s Lands that unless requested information was received and reviewed, it would be inappropriate for the Friends of St Mary’s Lands to receive invitations to attend the St Mary’s Lands Working Party meetings.

St Mary's Lands in Warwick. Photo by Mike BakerSt Mary's Lands in Warwick. Photo by Mike Baker
St Mary's Lands in Warwick. Photo by Mike Baker

“There has never been a Terms of Reference for the Working Party and FoSML has been invited to four meetings since 2021 with no requirement to supply governance arrangements.

"Cllr Day was aware of the names of our committee members when they introduced themselves at a meeting with him in November 2021 to discuss issues of concern in St Mary’s Lands.

"We have also sent him our constitution, directed him to our website and advised that two members of the Working Party are also members of FoSML and one of the councillors has attended its AGMs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We are aware that at least one other group in the Working Party is not even constituted.

“We therefore asked Cllr Day if he could verify that every other group on the Working Party has supplied the same information, as we do not want to be discriminated against.

“He failed to address this question but replied that we should be clear that is not a matter for our consideration as it is Warwick District Council that convenes the Working Party, not us and as such they will determine the membership.

“He went on to say that, until the information requested has been supplied, invitations for the Friends of St Mary’s Lands to attend future Working Party meetings will not be forthcoming.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We were therefore not represented at the Working Party meeting last week. Why is the contribution from our community group representing the users of St Mary’s Lands unwelcome?”

Responding to the letter, Cllr Day, said: “Warwick District Council as a local authority, is charged with the management of St Mary's Lands in the public interest.

"We do so in consultation with local residents, elected members, other constituted authorities and local community groups.

“As leader of the council, it is important that I understand the status of the 'Friends of St Mary's Lands', so I can respond properly and allocate officer resources appropriately.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Without the full disclosure of the information that has repeatedly been requested in writing since October 2021, I'm unable to determine if this is in fact a properly constituted local community group and am therefore obliged to manage the relationship accordingly.”

He added that despite repeated requests for the details of the elected members of the management committee and a formally adopted copy of its constitution, none have been forthcoming – an issue FoSML dispute.