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Localism versus Austerity

(April 12, 2015)

A conflict between Wiltshire Council and the town council is emerging as a conflicting agenda drive both forward towards their own goals of austerity against local services.

"Wiltshire Council, which I believe will get the reputation as one to the most severest austerity proponents of the Conservative led coalition, will need a very strong response from our town council," says Independent town councillor Paul Macdonald.

"Wiltshire Council can use all of their professionally employed staff and well paid elected councillors to put forward their austerity policies but Warminster has one thing on its side.

"It is the Localism Act much trumpeted by the government when it was launched that is the key to the way forward."

The act gave a new voice to local people, town and parish councils to take a lead in saying what they would like to be their responsibility.

"At the moment the shoe is on the wrong foot and I will work hard to find a way to make the Localism Act work on our behalf," says Paul.

"I was so angry about how Wiltshire Council tried to stitch us up on car parking that I successfully proposed that a strongly worded town council response went to county hall."

Wiltshire Council want to transfer four very small car parks to the town council retaining the major ones in their control.

"The town council could now be directly responsible in so many ways for what happens to our town after the district council was scrapped and we have to take the initative.

"Town councillors need to realise they are now more important than ever.

"Does responsibility belong to those elected to county hall or us elected to the town council?

"Are we to be more than 'a Vicar of Dibley' comedy said to me," adds Paul. "More than a parish council? I say yes

"I remember the days of the urban district councils. Shall we strive for that?"

* The town clerk has found funding for town councillors to attend a meeting to look at this issue

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