AS the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Southwest Neighbourhood Board we feel strongly that we find it necessary to reply to the comments made by political parties who state that the boards are not working or think they are a shame.

Here a few comments that we must state: 1. The Boards all have political representatives sitting on them, so if they feel they are not working then perhaps they should look at their roles on the Boards and what they DID or NOT do to make them work, or did they have a hidden agenda as regards to the Boards from the outset?

2. The resident members on all Boards have given their time free (so this can’t have cost) to make Blackburn with Darwen a better place to live.

The Southwest board is not political and most resident members believe that it is not about politics but it’s about people. We believe in bringing communities together.

3. The Southwest Board with contibutions (voices, events etc) from within the Southwest area set a neighbourhood plan which we use as a guide with regards to our decision making.

4. The Southwest Board, as with the other Boards, are the same size now as they were when they were first set up so they have not become too big.

5. As mentioned before, the resident members have donated their time for free. The only persons who cost are the council members who sit on the Boards.

So it would be nice to see how the Boards cost more than they give?

6. The statement made that the Boards are inefficient is totally wrong in as much that the Southwest Board attracted £81,000 in extra funding from other sources for projects in our area. This equates to 52 per cent of our Board money. How can that be inefficient?

Also, if we are inefficient or ineffective then why is there a waiting list of residents waiting to join our Board?

7. Can I ask that if we are ineffective or inefficient, does this mean that the 50 projects in the Southwest area which have been funded are also inefficient or ineffective?

8. May we as the Chair and Vice-Chair say that, yes, there have been imperfections within Boards but these have been picked out by the Neighbour-hood Boards Review.

Adrian Hoole