GROUPS of students have taken North Devon Councillors to task during a number of events as part of Local Democracy Week.
Pupils from Park Community School and Pilton Community College got involved in a mock planning committee at the start of this week.
This gave them the chance to work alongside councillors and act as members of the public to give their views on the applications.
Then later in the week 20 pupils from years 11, 12 and 12 from West Buckland School took part in a speed-dating event with 10 councillors from NDC.
They were told to grill councillors on any issue of their choice for three minutes before voting on them in terms of approachability, listening skills, understanding the issues and actually answering the question.
David Worden came out on top while Mike Edmunds was second and chief executive of the council, Mike Mansell, came in at third.
Some of the questions asked by the pupils included:
• Are you finding the council is working with all the recent cutbacks?
• What are your views on renewable energy and power stations?
• Do you not mind about wind turbines and the fact you can see Fullabrook from miles away?
• Do you think we are being hard done by as we are being asked to build more houses than other councils?
• What are the major issues you have to deal with in North Devon?
Leader of the council, Brian Greenslade, said the pupils seemed well informed about the issues they raised.
“Most of the questions I was asked were about things they had seen in papers or on the news,” he said. “None of them were difficult but it shows young people are quite well informed which is good.
“There is a concern about voter turnouts so if we can do this sort of thing it might make people think the democratic process is worth taking part in.”
Executive member for planning, councillor Mike Edmunds added: “I took part in the mock planning committee which is something we haven’t tried before as part of Local Democracy Week.
“It was great to have the opportunity to mix with the pupils and get their view on a planning application and also to show them how decisions are made.”