The Star Says: Can people power make a difference?

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At what point do councils listen to the people and conversely when do the people accept the decisions of their elected representatives?

It is a tricky question and one that has no right or wrong answer.

Everyone has different opinions, different political persuasions and issues that they either feel passionately about or couldn’t give two hoots for.

Just earlier this month we all had the chance to put our cross against the person we wanted as our Member of Parliament in Westminster and there were also local elections taking place across the country.

Some may say that this is where the argument should start and stop.

We elect our representatives so once that ‘X’ is placed then we allow them to get on with.

Others will argue that the election is just the beginning of the negotiation.

Yes, councillors and MPs have put themselves forward and winning gives them power, but they are still servants of the people in office to ensure life runs smoothly and generally not interfere where they’re not needed.

Of course the reality, as ever, is somewhere in the middle.

Today we tell of two stories where ‘people power’ seems to be making absolutely no difference.

In one leafy corner of Sheffield residents are outraged at plans to remove 12 trees from Rustlings Road, which runs along the side of Endcliffe Park.

A petition has been signed by more than 300 people and a meeting between Sheffield City Council and members of the public was held yesterday. The trees are due to be cut down in two weeks time.

And in the city centre Sheffield Council have said it will defend its controversial decision to approve plans to knock down independent shops if a legal challenge comes to fruition, a councillor has said.

The plans to demolish units on Devonshire Street for flats, a restaurant and a shop were agreed earlier this year despite massive protests including the biggest petition of objections ever received by the authority.

Councils have to make tough decisions – we understand that. They also do it from a position of being voted into office.

However, when families and communities come together over issues in such numbers then surely their arguments need to be seriously listened to before action is taken.