Community councillor asks: ‘who are you?’

Stephen Calder
Stephen Calder

A Peterhead community councillor’s bid for the creation of a Register of Members’ Interests failed to win support from his fellow members last week.

Stephen Calder raised the issue at Wednesday’s community council meeting in Arbuthnot House, following an issue concerning the granting of a license to for the use of a town car park for a car boot sale.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Calder said: “In the interests of openness and transparency, Peterhead residents are entitled to know who the current members of the community council are and which groups they are associated with or employed by.

“I don’t think this is the case at the moment.

“I believe there are 17 members at present. I don’t know most of their names and know very little about them.

“I was aware a couple of months ago that, when an issue was raised concerning the granting of a licence to a Peterhead business to use a council car park on Saturdays, a large number of community council members delcared an interest with this particular company - Peterhead Projects Ltd.

“This is what prompted me to raise the matter of the need for a Members’ Register of Interests.

“I feel a community council should be properly representative of the whole community. This would be the first step to establishing greater openness and transparency,” he said.

Community warden, Ian Kennedy, said that he wasn’t sure he agreed with the suggestion, stating: “I just don’t see the need for this. We need to push what we are doing as a group, and there is a clause in the constitution where members can declare an interest on any item.”

Bruce Buchan agreed, saying: “It’s a community council, not the United Nations Stephen. I cannot support this.

“Where we are employed is of no relevance to anyone.”

But Mr Calder said that no-one in town knew who they were or how to contact anyone on the community council and this would resolve that problem.

Mr Buchan said that the agenda was advertised in a wide range of locations.

“We hear your concerns but there is no support for this among the members present,” he added.

Mr Calder asked that his dissent be noted in the minutes.