Speldhurst Parish Council has refused to commit itself as to whether the residents of Speldhurst Village will be allowed to have a referendum on the controversial proposals for a social rented housing site on a prime gateway to the village. At a tense meeting of the Full Council last Monday, 6th February the Council reversed the decision of the Local Needs Housing Committee to reject the scheme and re-opened discussions “to clarify any uncertainties”. Council Chairman Lynn Jeffries also refused to commit to a referendum of the villagers, say that any agreement to carry out a referendum had to be to all residents within the Parish, including outlying areas like Ashurst and Groombridge.
Councillor Julian Stanyer is bitterly disappointed by the decision. He said:
"Surely at the advent of "localism", this is an opportunity for the Parish Council to demonstrate its genuine commitment to consultation with the local community. By turning its back on a referendum, it has left us with strong doubts as to whether it is up to the task."