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ASSEMBLY HALL: Town council adopts EU style of democracy

(August 17, 2010)
Steve Dancey's thoughts on the Monday meeting

WHEN more than 100 members of the public decide to attend a meeting of a town council then anyone with the slightest degree of political nous would realise that something is up.
Usually it is two men and a dog.
With half the town seething with rage at the town council's apparent disregard for basic democracy following the decisive result in the parish poll it still seems that some members of the town council are determined to press on with their plans to shackle the town with a massive debt and a bottomless liability.
But having suffered through more than 100 minutes of Monday evening's meeting it looks increasingly likely that the message is getting through to some of the other members of the council.
  Councillors have been led up to the top of the hill by former mayor councillor Tony Nicklin who seems determined to press on with this idea come what may. His explanation of his comments made at the last meeting had a hollow ring.
I've spent the past 20 years listening to the views of crown court judges and coroners without ever getting the wrong end of the stick so if Mr Nicklin wants to be  better understood he should give more thought to what he says.
The council's latest proposal to have a public consultation is an insult to everyone who voted in the parish poll.
In some ways the town council is resembling the EU - keep holding the vote until you get the answer you want.
As councillor Paul Batchelor pointed out the consultation will obtain an even lower absolute reply than the parish poll, which was effectively hushed up by Wiltshire Council.
People in Bradford on Avon were given two weeks more notice for their poll than the electors of Warminster - WHY. Was it gerrymandering by Wiltshire Council?
Now we find that the same Wiltshire Council will be running the 'independent' public consultations.
How independent can the consultation be when a quarter of Warminster Town Council members are also unitary county councillors and one is a member of the cabinet?
I have no confidence in the consultation or its so-called independence.
As for WCR - I feel sorry for them. They have been badly let down by the authorities at Kingdown School and the whole town deserves to know why. But that fact doesn't mean that the town should fall over to help them.
WCR's greatest contribution was to have been its positive impact on training and motivating young people, not its broadcast output. There are plenty of broadcasters out there but nobody is working with our youngsters.
Kingdown should think again - it is supposed to be a community school so it should start acting like one.

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