At the most recent meeting of Ilkley Parish Council, District Councillor Anne Hawkesworth made the fair, if rather obvious, comment that the number of empty premises in the town centre is a sure sign of “creeping neglect” in Ilkley.

The phrase creeping neglect is equally appropriate to describe the current depleted state of our parish council. For anyone attending the council meeting on Monday evening, as I did, the gaps in the ranks of councillors would have been obvious.

With two councillors absent and three unfilled vacancies, the meeting proceeded with only seven of our representatives in attendance. This unsatisfactory situation is entirely the fault of the parish council. It has known about the three unfilled seats for many weeks and despite interviewing three candidates has been incapable of reaching a decision as to who should be appointed.

The parish council is again asking for electors to come forward to fill these vacancies and judging from recent history the likelihood of a speedy decision will probably be remote.

After the council’s recent decision to bar members of the public from any discussion about the parish budget, the failure to fill the vacant seats shows that our representatives not only have scant respect for the local electorate but also lack leadership and cohesion.

It is to be hoped that eventually these vacant positions can be filled. However, for anyone wishing to apply an ability to make decisions is unlikely to be a suitable qualification.

Edward Wild

Secretary, Ilkley Labour Party

Alexandra Crescent, Ilkley