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‘Spirited debate’ is enjoyed at Addingham civic meeting
More than 100 Addingham residents put pressing local issues to an MP, councillors and other key figures at a question time session hosted by Addingham Civic Society.
Chaired by former Look North presenter and former Money Programme producer Judith Stamper, the session was held at Bracken Ghyll Golf Club, Skipton Road, on Friday night.
Answering the questions were Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, retiring Northern Editor of The Guardian Martin Wainwright, Bradford Council’s assis-tant director for Planning and Transportation Julian Jackson, councillors Andrew Mallinson and Adrian Naylor, and Addingham Parish Council chairman Catherine Coates.
Panel members dealt with a challenging portfolio of questions on topics of local and national interest, ranging from Addingham's “traffic blight”, wind turbines and the economic health of Wharfedale, to gay marriage, Lord Coe for Prime Minister, and police commissioners.
Observers commented how Judith Stamper showed experience and skill in the way she kept “straying” panel members to the subject, and found it necessary on only a few occasions, to issue some challenging comments from the chair. She said: “Addingham’s Question Time was a great pleasure to chair.
“I was amazed and delighted by the turnout – especially for a Friday night.
“The hall was packed to the rafters with people clearly engaged by local and national issues and willing to debate them with an excellent panel who were put through their paces on a whole range of subjects from planning to windfarms and from immigration to police commissioners.
“The debate was spirited but good-natured through-out. I left feeling exhilarated and convinced that, at least in Addingham, the tradition of public participation in politics is not dead.”
Video footage of the debate was recorded.
Mr Hopkins praised the efforts of the organisers and the turnout on the night.
He said: “It was useful to be able to exchange views with the other panellists and audience on some of the biggest issues we face.
“It is important that the concerns of people ‘on the ground’ are heard and carried back to Government, I that is what I will certainly do. I hope it will not be too long before another gathering is arranged.”