Paid to do what, exactly?

IN January, North Somerset Council voted to spend nearly �15million of taxpayers' cash on a new office in Clevedon – but now it seems it needs to fork out some �650 a day to consultants to tell them what to do with it.

IN January, North Somerset Council voted to spend nearly �15million of taxpayers' cash on a new office in Clevedon - but now it seems it needs to fork out some �650 a day to consultants to tell them what to do with it.

In the week the council completed the purchase - still insisting, by the way, that there will be 'no net loss' of jobs for Weston - the Mercury has revealed the �50,000-plus outlay to the part-time consultants.

Decisions which staff will move to Clevedon are still months away, apparently. Which begs the question: What are these consultants being paid to do, exactly?

If the council's own well-paid staff were qualified enough to provide the information councillors used to sanction the purchase, why aren't those same staff trusted to plan the move?


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Or, if the consultants' views are so vital, why weren't they enlisted before the council agreed a purchase which was opposed by its own staff, opposition councillors, unions and the public?

It's just one more aspect of an unpopular move which seems fundamentally contrary to the Conservative executive's watchwords of prudence and circumspection.

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They will continue to argue the move makes financial sense - but try telling that to the victims of their cost-cutting who live at the doomed Poppyfields residential home, or visit the unwanted North Somerset Museum, or face a 600 per cent hike in day care charges.

TRADERS in Weston have long bemoaned the lack of parking enforcement which allows motorists to occupy one-hour bays for days on end - restricting access for customers and threatening their livelihoods.

Many, therefore, will have been overjoyed by recent police proclamations of crackdowns and days of action to target the offenders.

But after nearly four days, how many fines have been issued for breaches of these parking time limits? Twelve. Less than one a week.

It's difficult to blame the police, as we all recognise they face urgent priorities on a daily basis - but it does lead us to question the wisdom of those who judged traffic wardens surplus to requirements.

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