SOME 35 people turned up and squeezed into the Council Chamber for the Hedon Town Council meeting last night, which was the first public participation meeting since the resignations of Jim Lindop and Ann Suggit from the council in November 2013.
Council Resignations: Whilst the majority of the public audience at the Town Hall seemed to have turned up hoping to discuss some of the issues surrounding the resignations, they left disappointed as Town Mayor and council Chairman John Dennis refused to allow discussion on what he deemed were personal issues between councillors, some of which he said were ‘sub-judice’ and under legal consideration.
Jim Lindop, had attempted to raise an issue but at the first mention of Ann Suggit’s name his comments were cut short by Cllr Dennis. Jim Lindop did get to criticise comments made by Cllr Dennis previously alluding to ‘no crisis’ in the council, he said that five complaints against Hedon Town Councillors made to the East Riding Council Standards Committee suggested otherwise.
Councillor Dennis again emphasised that personal grievances were not the business of the Town Council. Mrs Joanna Richardson the Town Clerk said that complaints against Town Councillors were the responsibility of the East Riding Council Standards Committee to deal with.
NOTE: If raising comments below regarding this issue, please do not simply repeat material that has already appeared on the Hedon Blog.
Other issues raised (in summary) responding to questions at the public meeting:
Horsewell Pond: Cllr Alan Marshall, Chair of the Property Committee, explained the historical reasons why Horsewell Pond had dried up, and explained the current moves to return water to the pond. Steve Gallant one of the candidates in the current by-election asked why the budget to restore Horsewell Pond had been cut, when as a one-off payment it would have helped to create a habitat that could help safeguard newts and wildlife in the area.
Cllr Dennis explained that the budget had not been chopped, merely reduced. There wasn’t any disagreement about returning water to the pond.
Jim Lindop said that 25kg of daffodil bulbs had been planted at the site (whilst he was still a Councillor) and he’d left the council with a report on the status of the Horsewell Pond project on the day of his resignation.
By-election Costs: Ann Suggit said residents would not be happy know that £5,000 pounds of council funds were being spent on the current by-election. Cllr Dennis said that the Town Council had been criticised for not issuing polling cards at the by-election held last year. This year with two seats vacant, it was felt necessary to spend the extra £3,000 this incurred.
Disabled Access: Steve Gallant asked why the project to make the Town Hall accessible to the disabled had only been allocated £4,000 towards it? And now the council was considering taking out a loan for the rest! For a few pennies on the Council Tax per household, per week, this could have been completed in full.
Cllr Dennis responded that spending upto £20,000 on the project, when it was not certain that it could go ahead, was unwise. By allocating a smaller figure it meant the council could re-visit the project and in the case of it going ahead could decide to take out a loan to complete it.
Hearing Loop: Jim Uney expressed his support to Cllr Sarah Rommell for trying to get an upgrade to the hearing loop system at the Town Hall. He couldn’t see the benefits of the current system and was upset by it. After hearing about Mr Uney’s concerns Cllr Rommell had tried to help, she said it was quite undignified to expect people with hearing aids to have to sit with a device around their necks.
The council maintains that the current system has been tested and works.
Dog Fouling: From the Hedon Blog we reported that there had not been a single fixed penalty notice issued for dog fouling in this area (SW Holderness) over the last two years. However, Hedon Town Council is to be involved in an East Riding dog control project that will help parish and town councils tackle the problem. We asked if this would offer any new advice to the public.
Mrs Richardson the Town Clerk said that one conference had been held to date and it was all about what councils need to be looking out for when trying to tackle the problem. In short when people report dog fouling to the East Riding Council, they need to include far more information than currently; especially the names of offenders and the times that offences take place.
The telephone number to call to report Dog Fouling is (01482) 396301. The Town Clerk says she has key-rings and give-aways available with this number on (contact Hedon Town Council).