Thursday 23rd May was the occasion of the Great Aycliffe Parish Meeting.  It is arguably the most important meeting of the civic year – the meeting where, not the Councillors, but the electors of Great Aycliffe, turn up to have their say.

The meeting heard the Mayor and Finance Manager give an account of the Council’s year, 2012-13. This was followed by presentations by the town’s Youth Council, and by Roger Curtis, Rotary Club President, who gave a very interesting account of the Rotary’s good work in the town and worldwide.

After the presentations comes the time for the electors to have their say. They can discuss any topic they want which is relevant to the town and (with a majority vote) make recommendations to the Town Council. Which made it disappointing, therefore, that only three electors were present – two former Councillors and the editor of the Newton News.  There were NO questions, comments or proposals.

The Council has many tasks this year, some of them of great importance to the people of the town, but its greatest task of all must be to try to restore public engagement with the democratic process.