Ditch committee and return to monthly council meetings

I AM one of 10 nominated independent candidates for election to St Ives town council on May 1. I have grave concerns about the organisation of meetings of the town council. In the past two years there have been decisions and changes that are a further man

I AM one of 10 nominated independent candidates for election to St Ives town council on May 1. I have grave concerns about the organisation of meetings of the town council.

In the past two years there have been decisions and changes that are a further manifestation of the obsession of this present council with political control above all else.

First, this year's annual town meeting has been fixed for Wednesday April 30, the day before Election Day. Well attended town meetings in the Free Church in previous years have always been held earlier in April. The town meeting is the only opportunity currently for electors to discuss concerns with councillors formally in public.

The timing in 2008 of all years, after the council's Corn Exchange débâcle, will give many residents who prefer to be busy with the election little chance to attend. It gives the press no chance to report on the town meeting before election day.


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Secondly, in December 2006, the council decided to meet as a full council only every two months, instead of each month as had been the norm for many years. This change means that new and possibly urgent matters are not picked up and progressed as quickly and as efficiently as they should be.

Ask St Ives youth town council and residents around Warner's Park what they think about the council's drawn-out, messy and heavy-handed treatment of the issue of a youth shelter in St Ives.

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You would have thought that this council, with its awful record of incompetence and delays on the Corn Exchange renovation, would want to meet certainly once every month. The need to call no fewer than six extraordinary meetings in the last year and the resulting poor attendance by councillors speak for themselves.

Thirdly, the move to bi-monthly meetings also saw the introduction of a new, elite and all-powerful finance and policy committee. This committee comprises seven of the most senior Conservative councillors and just one Liberal Democrat councillor. Initially, under the new committee regime, councillors who were not members of the F&P committee were not permitted even to be in attendance and listen at meetings, then they were allowed to, but only if they could give a good reason.

What moved the council even to think of introducing such undemocratic and draconian changes and rules? Monthly council meetings need to be reinstated, and the F&P committee must be scrapped.

In the United States, Barack Obama speaks constantly about the need for change. Here in St Ives we need change on the town council urgently and in large measure.

IAN DOBSON

Rookery Close

St Ives

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