Some time ago, in June, the Youth Provision Committee were concerned by the apparent closure of the Hullbridge Youth Club.
We raised these concerns with the person in charge and they advised us that there were staffing problems and that the youth club would be closed until September because Essex County Council could not staff it.
Obviously we were concerned by this and invited the portfolio holder in Essex County Council for Youth/Education Cllr S Castle) to a meeting, along with the Portfolio holder within Rochford District Council (Cllr L Butcher) and the Chair of Essex County Council, (Cllr E Hart).
It may interest you to know that Cllr Stephen Castle was the only one too busy to see us. Now I know we are only a Parish Council but we have invited Portfolio holders from Essex County Council before and they have usually managed to see us. Our MP comes to our meetings when invited and even turned our Christmas lights on last year.
Concerned that he may be worried that he might not yet be knowledgable enough (he has just taken on the role) I approached him, along with another Parish Councillor, at a meeting we attended at which point he basically told me that he was too busy to come to Parish Council meetings, they weren’t important enough.
Since then the Parish has written to him but he appears now to be too busy to even reply to our letters. For this service to the public he claimed over £49,000 last year in allowances and expenses (although he held a different role then).
I would say that if you are voted into a position of responsibility and choose to take on such an important role, no organisation, club, school, committee, Parish should be too small to take an interest in or to hear their concerns. Cllr Castle should remember that there will be elections and people will remember his actions, or should I say inactions.