MEMBERS of the public booed as councillors rejected a motion aimed at ‘letting people know what they are doing’.

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Harvey put forward a proposal to add chairman’s report and question time items to agendas at Burnham and Highbridge Town Council meetings so councillors can ask questions about committee activities.

Minutes of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council committee meetings are no longer presented at town council meetings due to changes in procedure earlier this year.

But Cllr Harvey said adding the agenda item would ensure the council is ‘transparent’ with the public about what they are doing in committee meetings.

He told a meeting on Monday: “It is our duty as town councillors to let the people we represent know what we are doing.

“We should invite the chairman of committees to put together a short report of their committee has been doing since the last town council meeting.

“The object is to tell our fellow councillors and residents what we are doing and allow councillors to ask questions about the chairman’s report.

“Not everyone in our community is tech savvy, some people don’t have computer and some people don’t want to look up and read all of the minutes from each committee meeting.

“By doing this we can be more transparent with the community and actually tell them about all the work we are doing.”

But Cllr Bill Hancock said: “We are all computer orientated, surely the public can look on the council website for the minutes.

“Chairman’s of committees are doing this out of their own time but are not being paid a lot. I am a businessman and have a job. I think it would cause a lot of problems.”

Councillor Peter Clayton said while he agreed that the council needs to be transparent with the public he thinks updating the council’s website would be a better way to reach out to the public.

However, Cllr Helen Groves said Cllr Harvey’s proposal would ‘avoid further problems’ for the council and the public.

She said: “What he is asking is that reports are given in a way that community can understand them and so councillors can then ask questions if they are unsure on certain things.”

Cllr Chris Allen said councillors contact details are available on the website and residents can contact them about community issues.

But resident Beverley Milner- Simonds, quickly replied: “Are you seriously asking us to email and call you?”

More residents spoke out and said when they have called and emailed councillors they have not replied.

Councillor Mike Murphy said councillors have a ‘duty’ to be as transparent with the public as possible and if they are not willing to be honest with the public they should not be in their posts.

Councillor Louise Parkin said she agreed with Cllr Clayton’s proposal to update the website as she would ‘not have the time’ to write a report for the meeting.

She said: “I agree that we need to get the website up and running and live stream our meetings so people can see what we are up to.

“But I have got a job, I got at 5.30am this morning to go to work.

“I have not got the time to write a report out about each meeting.

“If there is an item on the committee I want to see I can contact the councillor directly or even attend the meeting as a member of the public.”

The council was met with boos from residents as they voted to reject the proposal, with all seven Liberal Democrat councillors voting for and all 10 Conservative councillors and one Independent councillor voting against.

Following the meeting a number of Liberal Democrat councillors have spoken out on social media and said the vote showed ‘a blatant political divide’ in the council.