Response from Rodney Stone, Chief Executive, TWBC - 15 October 2001
- " No doubt the officers can expect an unqualified apology. "

Corporate Services
Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Our ref: RJS/ALI
Date: 15 October 2001

Telephone House Neighbours Association
37 Church Road
Kent TN1 1JT

Dear Ms Topliss


The Mayor has asked me to reply to the issues raised in your letter of the 10 October, with which he has not dealt in his reply of the 11 October, for the reasons he has explained.

The Mayor, quite properly and fairly, gave you the choice of a written answer to your question or have the question "stood over" until the next Council meeting. You chose the latter, so I will not be dealing with substantive answers to your question in this letter.

,br.To avoid any future misunderstanding, I attach a copy of a leaflet explaining the procedure for asking questions at Council. Should you wish to do so in future or require any advice about Council procedure I should be very happy to give it. It gives no one any satisfaction to disallow a question as happened on the 9 October and with dialogue this could have been avoided.

The need to require notice of questions is entirely reasonable. Usually questions require some research on technical, legal and financial issues. Even without this, it is reasonable to expect some time to prepare even a purely factual answer. Last Tuesday we were given, through no one's fault, precisely ten minutes as the Mayor has stated. It simply was not enough time.

There was also the problem that questions should normally be directed at a particular Member, usually a Chairman. Yours was directed to "Members of the Council". Please let me know who you would like to answer the question in December. I would suggest Councillor Scholes as Leader or Councillor Oliver-Smith as Chairman of the Operational Services Board.

Also to avoid misunderstanding, I should point out that your fourth paragraph suggests that your question will result in a debate on the issues raised. It will not. Your question will be answered and the Council will then proceed to the next business. There will be no debate.

I am particularly concerned about two paragraphs in your letter. In your third paragraph you accuse officers of concealing the contents of your letter. For reasons that the Mayor has explained this is wholly incorrect. No doubt the officers can expect an unqualified apology.

In your penultimate paragraph you accuse officers of deliberately misleading the Mayor. This is outrageous. The Mayor has demonstrated any such accusation to be factually incorrect. I feel that an unqualified apology should be given.

I remain deeply disappointed that you regard the Council's officers as your enemy. I would be happy to meet you to explore ways of dealing with this issue more constructively.

Yours sincerely
Rodney Stone
Chief Executive

After the Public Inquiry during summer/autumn 2001 - The attitude of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's
Chief Executive Rodney Stone and Director of Operational Services towards residents

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Internal Inquiry into the Telephone House Debacle

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the high-density development on Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1.