Democracy in action
THE public meeting held at the Blakehay last Saturday was packed, I was thrilled that so many people had come.
THE public meeting held at the Blakehay last Saturday was packed, I was thrilled that so many people had come. Democracy in action.
Many people expressed their dismay at the council's plans to move the museum and sell the lovely old historic building.
All the town councillors and the North Somerset councillors had been invited to explain what was happening to the public. Only five of the 61 attended. After some interesting comments from the main speakers and the audience Cllr Bryant finally stood up and told us the reasons this move was planned.
He said the museum was damp and needed thousands of pounds spent on it to 'modernise' it. The council did not have this money.
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The idea that the museum is damp has been circulating for some weeks but it is only one storage area that is affected and the artefacts stored there are not endangered. The other three storage areas are properly temperature and humidity controlled and are checked every week. Of course it would be good to refurbish the place but in these straitened times this can be postponed for the present and the work carried out over a longer period of time.
After Cllr Bryant had told us how little money was available I was amazed to hear the plans for relocating the museum in the Winter Gardens. I had heard it was to be housed on the ground floor of the north west corner of the building but Cllr Bryant said that the upper floor would be used too and even that a new extension to the Winter Gardens might be built at the back. If the council had no money how would this be paid for? Surely the costs involved would be immense, far outweighing anything spent on the present site?
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All this was worrying but my main concern was that the information given to the meeting was so vague and that the councillor seemed so hostile to the audience. The Winter Gardens' proposals have not been made available to the public and do not seem to have been completely thought through and costed.
Without access to information and a spirit of co-operation between the councillors and the people who have elected them how can democracy flourish in our area?