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Town hall pigeon grant is wrong

(December 14, 2008)

NEWS our town council has been looking at two important issues highlighted on this website is to be welcomed.

Perhaps our proposals are already starting to stimulating a debate about democratic representation and the town hall.

Councillors say they want to increase the number of town councillors to 13 which is two fewer than we suggest and still fewer than most other towns of similar size.

Their ideas do not address the drawbacks associated with multi-member wards although even under their plans it would be slightly less confusing to live in a ward represented by four people than the current half dozen.

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Even so we may have left it too late to influence matters and will have to live with the Electoral Commission’s proposals for the town council which provide those living in the Copheap ward a significant over-representation.

Mayor Veronica Burden quite rightly described the town hall as ‘a luxury pigeon loft’ and we can understand why town councillors took the decision they did.

But the proposal to subsidise a private individual to the tune of more than £5,000 is wrong.

“In the late 1980s and early 90s I was a member of the Warminster Joint Historic Buildings sub-committee and was often very unhappy with some of the decisions taken behind closed doors to grant aid some well known individuals as much as £30,000 to restore their town centre buildings,” said former county councillor Steve Dancey.

“But at least those grants were to restore the fabric of buildings whereas this money is to deal with guano or bird poo and our cash should not be used to support up a private business venture.

“Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks and these should not be underwritten by local authorities.

“I share the view expressed by councillor Paul Batchelor on this and may decide to contact the District Auditor regarding this matter.”

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