12th of June 2023
At the AGM of the Ashtead Residents Association (ARA) on 26 April 2023, concerns raised over the changes being proposed by the Association were expressed (see also here). One of the reasons being put forward for change was to ensure political neutrality. In the not too recent past, anyone wishing to join the Standing Committee was asked if they were a member of any national political party, but that practice was discontinued.
In order to ensure that members of the Standing Committee were not members of political parties, I had proposed to the meeting that they could not be members of any national or local political party. The response was that as the ARA was a “quasi-public body” it was subject to some parts of the Human Rights legislation which meant it could not have such a provision. That view was contested at the meeting, most eloquently by Ashtead resident and barrister Donald Broatch. Donald subsequently prepared a Memorandum on the legal position as he saw it (here), concluding that that both that it was not a “hybrid authority” (the category used in Human Rights legislation) and as the ARA was a voluntary organization conditions could be placed on Committee membership.
A copy of this Memorandum was sent to the ARA Standing Committee on 14 May 2023, but no response has so far been received. I trust that the conclusions of this Memorandum will be taken into account by the Committee in preparing a revision of its proposals for consideration at the ARA’s Autumn Meeting.
Cllr David L Hawksworth CBE
9 June 2023