OPINION: Don’t stifle vital debate

Anyone familiar with these pages will know that many of our readers feel the people in power just don’t listen to what they have to say.

Time after time you write in to say that your comments on contentious issues that affect your every day life have fallen on deaf ears. But at least you had a chance to have your say.

If proposals put forward at the Peak District Park Authority go through, you might not even be allowed to do that (see page four).

Quite rightly, the authority is looking at the way it spends our money - but is stifling public debate really a sensible cost-saving option?

Yes, some council and authority meetings can, at times, become repetitious, self-centred, petty and repetitious.

Not all of us understand the compexities of planning law and how it should be applied and we can ALL act like NIMBYs from time to time.

But at a time when more and more people feel powerless to shape the world around them, making sure that they can speak up - and that they are listened to - has never been more important...