Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I went to the Neighbourhood Forum and had a good time.

Last night was the second go at the new neighbourhood forum. The first time I've been to one in Huntingdonshire. I arrived slightly late. These are my views on the meeting.

Ian Bates (in his role a a member of the CPA*) performed well as the Authority's Lead Member for St Neots and District. He set out what the Police Authority is doing and the budgetary constraints. He also set out a good comparison with other Police forces as to numbers. Whilst he alluded to future problems these were left to one side. Even when I asked a question about the future the answer seemed rather hazy. The forecast is for savings of £7 million over the next 2 years having to be made.

Inspector Mark Greenhalgh gave a very good performance over Policing in St Neots and District. The closure of the Unique Bar has been good for the crime statistics. Some of the crime stats were a bit funny with some peaks caused by snowballs.

One item that did come out was the youths wanting an alternative things to do other than Youth Clubs. The idea came forward for a Coffee Bar for the youths. That would be a good idea for the Town Council to take up with County. Other information to come forward is the County Youth Service has yet to sort out Bargroves! An other idea was for a Youth Forum.

There weren't that many concerns brought forward about the problems in area. Though I have to say that whilst a good number of people attended it seemed to me to me that if I cut out all the Councillors, Officials, Police, party members there were few uninvolved residents attending this meeting.

For the future I did ask for the District and County to explain how the cuts/savings/efficiencies are going to affect St Neots. How can priorities be set for St Neots if residents do not understand how deep the cuts are going to go?

One thing Cllr Thorpe did was start a small debate about the School merger/federation. It came out that St Neots Community College has got the £1 million debt paid off and £350,000 in Federation cost. This was seen as a plus to St Neots. I don't see this as a plus.

I though it was a good meeting. Residents do need to support this process and HDC and has to try other ways of publicising these meetings. I don't have any ideas. The only way I found out about this meeting was coming across it on the HDC website.

Next date: Thursday, 8th April 2010 - Venue to be confirmed

HDC Agenda for this meeting
HDC Neighbourhood Forums
*Cambridgeshire Police Authority

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