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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 08:55 GMT
Council opts out of regional body
Medway Council
The council leader wants the regional assembly abolished
Medway Council has withdrawn its membership of the regional assembly and is calling for others to do the same.

Council leader Rodney Chambers said the decision to pull out of the South East England Regional Assembly (Seera) will save the council 22,000 per year.

Mr Chambers said he felt the money would be better spent elsewhere and that Medway would still have a voice.

Seera's chief executive said it was a matter of regret when a council decided to withdraw from membership.

This area is becoming a dumping ground for taking all the development in order to protect leafy areas
Rodney Chambers, council leader

Medway Council is a statutory authority which means it must be consulted before any development can take place.

But Mr Chambers said Medway cannot always be sure that the consultation will act in Medway's best interest.

This is because the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Seera can overrule the public's views.

"This area is becoming a dumping ground for taking all the development in order to protect leafy areas such as Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Surrey," Mr Chambers said.

He added: "Local authorities in the south east contribute over 700,000 for the luxury of sitting in this assembly and I could not justify our proportion of cost of this cost if it meant a reduction in services that we provide.

"It's a body that nobody really wants."

Seera chief executive Paul Bevan said: "It is a matter of regret when councils decide to withdraw from the Assembly membership, whether it is for financial or political reasons.

"The assembly is tasked with advising the government on important and difficult decisions about growth and investment in the South East.

"Medway risks denying itself the opportunity for its voice to be heard in these vital debates."

No vote 'message to politicians'
05 Nov 04 |  England

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