What do councillors do with their time?
PUBLISHED: 09:36 03 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:05 24 May 2010
CAN someone explain to the ratepayers what exactly the councillors of North Somerset Council do with their time spent working at the town hall? Do they actually keep track of the things which are supposed to be happening within their domain? My reason f
CAN someone explain to the ratepayers what exactly the councillors of North Somerset Council do with their time spent working at the town hall? Do they actually keep track of the things which are supposed to be happening within their domain? My reason for asking this question is because of the report in last week's local paper under the heading: Local casino gamble unlikely. Councillor Alan Hockridge, the council leader, admitted to the full council that they would be unable to meet a deadline date of March 31 with a submission for a casino in the North Somerset boundaries. The question is why? Haven't they learned anything over the last six weeks, which was when the council again was forced to admit that it was too late in the funding application for the sea defences on Weston's seafront. In that case, it was that they had not applied for planning. We have highly paid officials whose job, I should think, is to keep on track of matters and put forward plans and proposals to the council members. Is this not what they are paid to do? Somerset has never had a casino. By this I am not just saying Weston, I mean anywhere, but when the Government asked for proposals from local authorities, North Somerset Council said it was interested. So why is it that it could not get its act together just this once? Is it saying there is no place in the whole of North Somerset suitable for a casino? Could it have considered building a second floor which would cover all the existing building of our very fine Winter Gardens, a prime location with a large car park next door, right on the seafront where it would be seen by everybody who came to Weston. The town would still have its original Winter Gardens with its dance floor, bars, exhibition rooms, restaurant, etc, but with something special which would be a landmark for the town plus of course the only casino in the county. A casino in Weston, or anywhere else, would bring many thousands of visitors to this area but then I read the reason given by the council leader why this will not happen. He said: "Having considered the submission document together with our director of development and environment, I consider the case and benefits of a casino being located within North Somerset have not been sufficiently advanced to support a submission by the panel's deadline of March 31." So here we have the council leader, together with the director of development, feeling that too much effort is needed.Where was the input from the director of tourism in all this? Where was input from other councillors? Did nobody start to ask questions on what progress was being made on this major possible development which in Weston's case could make a big difference and produce much needed income to help reduce council taxes. It looks to me that the ratepayers are being represented by their councillors who have no control over any of the highly paid officials who are supposed to be able to get on with things unsupervised, or is this a case of they did not have time to call in very expensive consultants to do the necessary work for them? LAURENCE ORME - Shrubbery Avenue, Weston