Acomb Ward Conservative councillor Keith Myers has issued an invitation to his Labour counterpart to meet for ward meetings after it has emerged that Cllr. Stuart Barnes has met only six times in the last 3 ½ years with his ward colleague and ward officers, and not once in 2018.
Cllr Myers said: “I feel we are letting our residents down. We need to meet together to progress projects and to agree ward funding applications, which neither of us can do on our own.
“I realise it’s difficult for Cllr. Barnes, with a full time job, a young family and not having the advantage of living in the ward. But we have set up numerous meetings which he hasn’t attended nor sent his apologies for, we have set up Skype meetings which he also hasn’t attended, and our ward officer has even suggested separate meetings to move the process along.
“Officers email Cllr. Barnes to try to set up meetings and he doesn’t even reply. This just isn’t good enough.
“I’ve not agreed to separate meetings because we need to meet together in public to discuss ward funding and other issues, not have a private debate via emails. Unlike a number of wards Acomb doesn’t have a parish council or a residents’ association, and the lack of these bodies means there isn’t another organisation to hold us to account as to what we are or are not doing for our residents. We need to meet together and to be publically accountable for our decisions.
“We are of course from different parties but this is no excuse for Cllr Barnes’s lack of engagement with me and with our ward. Can’t we work together to make sure we deliver to the people of Acomb the benefits of our ward budget to which they’re entitled? I feel certain that all residents would hope that we could.”