OBSERVER: Council have nothing to discuss? Surely not...


I’ve mentioned before that the borough council website is worth a regular visit: there’s always useful(!) information on there and it keeps ratepayers up to date with meetings, together with their agendas.

But on a number of occasions recently meetings have been cancelled, usually planning committee meetings (understandable if no plans) but also full council meetings. The reason? ‘Insufficient business to discuss.’ Excuse me, is there really nothing to discuss? There might not be any relating to council business, but is it not true that the only time Cabinet decisions can publicly be questioned is at a full council meeting? I realise there’s an in-built majority – but even so! I know some people think the council is a waste of time, but it’s decisions like this which tend to give credence to that view. No doubt there’s a rule which says that only council business can be discussed at such a meeting; rules are meant to be broken and is there not a case here for ‘town’ business to be discussed?

If there really is ‘insufficient’ business to be brought forward, cannot the council turn the opportunity of the meeting date to throw open the doors to allow us mere ratepayers to put forward our various views?

For a start: let’s discuss the Market Place, a bypass, our concerns about immigration, the apparent lack of anything happening in the town and from only last week, the early closure of the Central Park.

I’m of an age when I can remember cricket being played there and the gates were never closed until dusk in the summer, or at least until cricket matches finished. The reason given for early closure now is that the toilets close at 8pm; does no one have the sense to keep them open until dusk?

I can also remember when councillors got paid an attendance allowance for each meeting they turned up to. There was always some committee or council meeting going on then, but of course now they get an annual allowance, whether they attend or not.

Me, a cynic?