Herts Ad Comment: Is it time for council leader Julian Daly to step aside in wake of local plan humiliation?
PUBLISHED: 21:00 16 December 2016
For beleaguered district council leader Julian Daly, the opportunity to speak frankly and openly to the business leaders of St Albans should have been an open goal.
After all, the breakfast meeting organised by St Albans Chamber of Commerce provided the chance to explain exactly what he was going to do about the failed strategic local plan, and offer reassurance in these uncertain times.
But for reasons which escape explanation, Cllr Daly refused to provide proper answers to the questions asked, and arguably displayed a degree of contempt towards his audience in his response to their concerns.
So instead of winning the hearts and minds of key decision-makers within the district, Cllr Daly alienated them further, and came across as aloof and detached from the views of the local community.
He could do well to listen to the warnings raised by St Albans MP Anne Main - who has been bang on the nose with previous predictions of a similar nature - that the entire planning blueprint could ultimately be taken out of the district’s hands by the government.
Should this happen, and at the moment it seems increasingly likely, then it will be a humilating blow for the district council administration, left powerless to have any say over future housing developments.
Something urgently needs to be done now to prevent this grim fate from becoming a reality, and it might be argued that Cllr Daly has proved he is no longer the right man for the job.
At the risk of experiencing one of the most crushing blows to St Albans since it was sacked by Boudicca, the Tory-run council hierarchy needs to decide whether a new leader is necessary to make the local plan a reality.
Someone who is prepared to listen and react to alternative opinions, perhaps, instead of dismissing them out of hand?
Time is running out though, and firm and decisive action is needed before it’s too late.