Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Conservatives: The Town Council alternative?

Every 4 years the electors of St Neots have a chance to change the Town Council and change the course that is steered by the Town Council. So I thought I would look at the current opposition group and how they have performed over the last few years to see whether they should be "given a chance"?

The Conservatives have 5 members out of 18 on the Town Council. Of the 5 Cllr Harty is a County Councillor and is also a District Councillor along with Cllrs Ursell and Chapman. Cllr Bird (Leader) and Arnold are just Town Councillors. They are not without influence. Cllr Bird is Chairman of the (useless) Planning Committee. Cllr Chapman is Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee. Cllr Ursell is Chairman of the Swimming Pool Trust.

Given this wealth of experience and knowledge the Conservatives should be ripping the Liberal Democrats apart. But they aren't.

Whilst bleating on about Council Tax the Conservatives have yet to come up with an alternative budget. Despite the fact that much of the budget is in the public domain.

Calling for a Church Car Park to be funded by the Town Council despite the fact the Church in Eaton Socon had the money to resurface what is essentially their car park. Will all other Church Car Parks be resurfaced at the Council taxpayers expense?

Money set aside specifically for annexed residents from Eynesbury Hardwicke Parish and St Neots Rural Parish. This is because the residents have no extra services for paying the new rate of Council Tax - the same as the rest of St Neots. This is the politics of envy. What has been missed out is these two areas had functioning Parish Councils. If these had provided services then St Neots was bound in law to take these on. Former EHPC residents paid nil to their Parish Council in the final year. If the Conservatives are going to set up a specific fund for these areas why not the rest of Eynesbury. Indeed is this Conservative policy to have funds for each area of the Town?

Whilst I question the "need" that Eynesbury needs a Community Centre the Liberal Democrats did a least try to get the project off with putting £60,000 aside. The Conservatives tried and failed to move this money to Love's Farm. So the Liberal Democrats put money aside for Eynesbury, which the Conservatives have been calling for and when they do that the Conservatives attempt to move the money to Love's Farm.

HDC is going to try and dump a whole load of services it currently runs onto the Town Council. This is a Conservative stealth tax on the Towns. The Conservatives lied about the transfer of the toilets dumping the service and trying to blame the Liberal Democrats for not initially taking them on at a cost of £30,000 to the St Neots Council Taxpayer. What about the rest of these services HDC is looking for St Neots Town Council (therefore the St Neots council taxpayer) to contribute too?

Car Parking fiasco. This blog took the view that it was right in the circumstances of the failing HDC budget that the Riverside and Cambridge Street car parks should be charged for. Neither political party came up with real alternatives to the charges. What the St Neots conservative Councillors did was a pantomime. Despite the fact that many are members of HDC there was little to be done. Rather than explain why these charges were being introduced the Conservatives went off on an anti charges campaign which fell flat on it face. The charges were introduced. Cllr Farrer even went as far as syaing we was considering going Independent if 3 hours free wasn't introduced. Needless to say this proposal was rejected and Cllr Farrer is still a member of the Conservative group.

What of the future? The Conservatives are silent on this. They have the budget but have no alternative. They have the Forward Plan but have no alternative. Really the Conservatives have no alternative plans to what the Liberal Democrats are doing. If they have the Conservatives aren't informing the electorate of these plans.

Needless to say, but I will, the main problem is whether a Conservative run Town Council will kowtow to the Conservative run HDC or will it stand up for St Neots. On past experience a Conservative run Town Council will kowtow and any opposition will be a pantomime.

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