Is it Appropriate for the Chair of the Neighbourhood Forum to Run for Political Office and Remain Chair?

Chris Cooke writes: I don’t believe it is appropriate for an individual who is chair of an apolitical organisation to be running for political office else the whole thing risks becoming a political football in the county elections. I think Paul Nathaniel should step down as chair or withdraw his candidacy.

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18 Responses to Is it Appropriate for the Chair of the Neighbourhood Forum to Run for Political Office and Remain Chair?

  1. Donna MacRae says:

    Why should it matter. The chair and vice chair of the Stapleford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are both members of Political Parties. The group is made up of Councillors and local residents too and they are all woring together for the greater good of the community.

    As with the Bramcote Neighbourhood Plan there have been several public meetings you could have attended and got involved. Why wait until just before the election to complain.

    Instead of complaining why not work with others for the greater good of the residents of Bramcote. Yours is another name that only appears in the run up to an election.

    Good on Paul for standing.

    • chris cooke says:

      Donna, actually I only just learnt Paul is standing for election.

      • Donna MacRae says:

        Nice to see you are fully up to date on the current events happening in Bramcote then.

      • chris cooke says:

        Well as someone who spends 40 hours a week on clinical placements in the NHS, and another 25 hours a week doing university work around that, I don’t always have the time I would like to spend in my local community. My commitments meant I had to give up the voluntary work I performed with Terrence Higgins and with an outreach project in London providing respite care for the careers of elderly people suffering with HIV. These are the sacrifices we make for vocation though.

        As a resident of Bramcote ward who regularly uses the Park to walk my dog etc etc, I am dismayed by the constant passing the parcel of responsibility between Anna and friends and the alleged failings of the previous Lib-Lab coalition. The Forum should be a vehicle to bring all sides together with the people of Bramcote to decide what should happen.

        This just muddies the water

  2. chris cooke says:

    The forum shouldn’t exist as a vehicle to achieve election to office.

  3. Anna Soubry MP says:

    I don’t normally post on Bramcote Today – as much as I support this excellent community web site. Paul is perfectly entitled to stand for the County Council and remain as the Chair of the Neighbourhood Forum. In the event he is elected then that may well be a different matter and I understand he would have to step down. I wish Paul well – though obviously I am a firm supporter of Tony Smith and I very much hope Tony wins.

    • chris cooke says:

      Anna, I don’t think anyone would disagree with the suggestion that Paul is committed to Bramcote. However, I am glad that you have noted that he should consider stepping down if he is elected. Paul would probably make a very good committee room warrior but at what point does the view of the neighbourhood forum actually just reflect what Paul Nathaniel says in an election campaign? The looser at the end of the day is the Forum.

    • Dear Anna,
      Thank you – I appreciate your comment a great deal!

      I am happy to confirm that were I to be elected to represent Bramcote & Beeston North I would not seek to continue to serve as chair of the Bramcote Neighbourhood Forum.
      Indeed I stood down from chairing the Bramcote Hills Community Association planning committee when I took over the role of chairing the Forum.

      I wish Tony well – perhaps you could persuade him to think about the precedent that would be set if the County Council handed over tens of millions of pounds worth of public land to a company when it could build a new school building and simply lease it to the Federation.

      best wishes,


      • Chris cooke says:

        I think in 2019 you actually have a strong chance, it will still be difficult but much more likely than running for a county district that takes in areas far removed from leafy bramcote.

        You have a strong local network of followers and even if don’t neccersrily agree with all of your announcements you are very active. Bravo for this.

        As a Lib Dem, which Steve Austin is very keen to make sure everyone knows, I will say clearly this, (although i am not an executive officer of the local party as Steve Austin seems very keen to make sure everyone knows).. the Conservative – Lib Dem arguing over who built what and where, is actually doing a disservice to the people of Bramcote. This is why I believe the Forum should not be a political football for anyone.

  4. Jonathan E says:

    Chris, you say “I think Paul Nathaniel should step down as chair or withdraw his candidacy.”

    Could you perhaps give some reasons why you ‘think’ this…..

    I ‘think’ a lot of things but 99.99999+% of what I ‘think’ probably has no rational outcome nor reason for public broadcast. So come on, Chris give us some rational reasoning behind these ‘thinks’. If not then maybe some of my < <.0000001 of think time would make me 'think' that you are attempting to undermine a candidate who I know (not just 'think') has the utmost integrity in his desire to be elected.

    • Chris cooke says:

      Johnathon, I think the forum is best run as a non politically associated organisation. Much like council officers should be apolitical. The forum after all effectively takes on many of the functions previously discharged by council officers (not councillors). Is this an unfair assessment?

      It’s not as if he will even get anywhere near winning anyway, I would be surprised if he won more than 3%. Although I think he would have a much better chance at Borough elections in 2019.

      • Paul Nathanail says:

        Dear Chris,
        I am glad I can count on your vote for 2019.

  5. Ann Hart says:

    All best wishes to the Neighbourhood Plan but the immediate issues raised are a valid reason to stand for election to the County Council. At a point where there is a conflict of interest then, if Paul is elected, such a decision can be made.

  6. Sue Sambells says:

    Personally, and I am unable to vote for Paul because Bramcote has been divided for this purpose, I just want to see committed councillors, NCC and BBC, who are invested in Bramcote and listen to the views of the people – all year round. I do not want to see someone elected solely because they represent a specific political party. The time for that is in June.
    So candidates, please don’t just provide your party’s spiel but give accurate facts of what you have done and plan to do, if elected. Concentrate on what you can offer and not what others can’t!

    • Dear Sue,
      Thank you!

      BTW You have your own independent candidate to vote for: Richard MacRae. I think he meets all your above criteria.

      Oh, and whatever the electoral boundaries say, you still live in Bramcote!


      • Sue Sambells says:

        Dear Paul
        Yes, I am very much committed to Bramcote myself and give many voluntary hours to community safety in Bramcote, South Broxtowe and Nottinghamshire, at three levels. Also as an editor of Bramcote Today.
        I recognise those who are equally (and more) committed – all year round.
        We are fortunate to have Richard, who is passionate about Stapleford and its residents. I am just concerned that Bramcote will always be the least priority against Stapleford and Beeston.

  7. Re Chris Cooke post of 24 April 2017 at 21:22


    Just as a reminder, the remit of a neighbourhood forum which is to be “body to develop and implement a Neighbourhood Plan”.

    The ONE issue I am campaigning on is that I think it would be wrong for Nottinghamshire County Council to give away land worth tens of millions to a private company when new school infrastructure could be owned by the county council and leased to the White Hills Park Federation. THAT is why I am asking the people of Bramcote & Beeston North to vote for me on 4 May.

    Keep #PublicLandsInPublicHands !

    kind regards,

    Paul Nathanail
    Independent Candidate for Bramcote & Beeston North

    This message is promoted by Peter Nathanail on behalf of Paul Nathanail, both of 8 6 Moor Lane Bramcote

    • Chris cooke says:

      Paul, I actually agree with you on the issue.

      A lot of people, including Anna and other elected officials, are giving me flack over this. Steve Austin is also very keen to keep tagging me as a Lib Dem, to make it out like this is a cynical political manoeuvre. However, as I have stated: the ‘pass the parcel’ blame game between the Cons and Lib Dems in Bramcote is doing the people here a disservice.

      I think that is very fair and objective assessment that many people within Bramcote would agree with. They don’t want planning decisions to be the political theatre and buck passing that it has become.

      The Forum needs be above politics and it should be completely apolitical.

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