“IS THIS democracy?” That was the question from an Aylesbury resident after a row broke out over key funding projects around the town.

The argument came at a meeting of the recently-created Aylesbury Community Board, a new body set up by Buckinghamshire Council with the aim of highlighting local issues and strengthening community involvement.

Funding worth more than £50,000 for four new projects around the town was set to be ratified by the Board during the meeting.

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But when the meeting reached this point, chairman councillor Mark Winn did not invite participants to make comments on or ask questions about the schemes, which included cash for a youth outreach programme, the establishment of an LGBT+ friendly hub and cafe, backing for a sexual assault support group.

This prompted angry questions from participant Adam Poland at the end of the meeting, who demanded to know why residents could not discuss the proposals.

Cllr Winn explained the funding process. He said: “[Funding requests] come before sub-groups who make sure they are in line with the aims of the sub-groups and the aims of the board.

“They then go to the unitary councillors who will look at the recommendations of those sub-groups and then vote on them. That’s what’s happened here.

“The ratification is to say what we are funding, it’s not to vote again.

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“Everyone is encouraged to get involved in the subgroups where questions such as funding and what people would like to spend money on come forward.

“That is where the opportunity is to make that decision. It then goes to unitary councillors and that decision is made.”

Cllr Winn then proceeded to close the virtual meeting before exiting, leaving dozens of residents, councillors and officers remaining in the conference call.

Some residents persisted in asking officers for more information about the funding process, who told participants they could not discuss these issues as the chairman had left the meeting.

Cllr Winn did temporarily return to remind participants the meeting had closed.

Following this, participant Bill Russell told the Board he was part of the sub-group where funding requests were considered.

He said: “We didn’t agree [to the requests] at the subgroup. I remember, I was there!”

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Commenting on the conclusion to the Board meeting, he added: “It’s appalling. Is this democracy?”

Later on, Mr Russell took to Twitter to describe the meeting as “chaos”.

While the meeting discussion was taking place, other participants were commenting using the call’s chat sidebar.

Catherine Marriott wrote: “I don't see the value of being here as a resident as it has been a barrage of information with no engagement of residents. I'm concerned you will lose most of us residents on here.”

Councillor Gary Powell added: “As item 10 has to do with the allocation of public funds, it feels as though members of the public should be able to have their say here.”

Adam Poland commented: “This is shocking!!!!”

The meeting was held on Tuesday, November 17.