Curb this unelected assembly

Evening Post comment - 11 March 2006


HAS anyone reading this heard of the South West Regional Assembly? Do any of you know what powers it has? Or who sits on it? The chances are that very few people reading this will know anything about this organisation. That is mainly because it is a Government quango ‑ an unelected body that is unrepresentative and virtually unaccountable for its actions. It does number councillors among its ranks drawn from authorities all over the South West. But we don't elect them to sit on the assembly, we vote for them to sit on councils. Their membership of the assembly is incidental.


Yet this group of people have ratified a decision to build thousands of new houses in the coming years. They have upheld the idea of digging up the green belt and constructing homes and roads. Never mind that individual councils oppose the ideas, the assembly will get its way.


It is a powerful body doing the bidding of Government and overriding the wishes of elected councils. And as with all bodies that operate on a regional basis it doesn't have the depth of detailed local knowledge so vital in making crucial decisions about developments.


We are told that almost 100,000 new homes have to be built around Bristol and the surrounding area. But we have no say in whether this should happen, even though it will have such a massive impact on our environment and increase the

pressure on our roads and services.


This is decision‑making on a grand scale and by the back door and it is undemocratic and unacceptable.