Rotten Boroughs – Bury St Edmunds

Here’s a little gem from the Town Council in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

In his election address, the independant councillor, David Nettleton, has made great store of the fact that he has been leader of the finance committee and in this capacity has identified a way to save the town’s crossing patrols.

The crossing patrols apparently cost the council around £17,500 per annum and were threatened with the axe, but Cllr Nettleton says that this can be funded because for the last three years they have been paying a retired town clerk £18,000 a year as part of an early retirement package.

So that’s alright then – we can fund crossing patrols out of the money we have been wasting because we’re not going to be wasting it any more!

And you expect to be re-elected on the back of this piece of financial wizardry? If I were you, I’d keep quiet about it…

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7 responses to “Rotten Boroughs – Bury St Edmunds

  1. What do you think I should have done instead?

  2. Not wasted it in the first place – and certainly not presented the fact that you are not going to waste it any more as some sort of financial ingenuity!

  3. I wasn't a member of the town council in 2008 when the agreement to pay £55K over three years was made. I wasn't trying to do anything other than anticipate the fairly obvious question as to how the town council could commit £17,500 a year to maintaining school crossing patrols without an increase in Council Tax.The current Band D charge is £13.50 a year. When the town council was formed in 2003 the charge was £13.95.

  4. I have a friend in Bury who sent me this story. She suggests that you could save even more by abolishing the Town Council altogether and letting St Edmundsbury take over. Perhaps that would save even more money but she tells me it's a hot potato and as a town concillor I expect you would disagree?…

  5. Your friend has a touching faith in St Edmundsbury Borough Council, of which I have been a Member since 2003.Abolishing the town council would save her £1.35 a month but she would not see £6K a year investment in Bury In Bloom, £3K in providing more salt and grit bins, £17,500 in saving school crossing patrols, 38 new allotment plots in Cotton Lane or £10K a year in improvements to all five allotment sites paid for by the plot holders themselves through a rent rise of 9p a month over a five-year period.In fairness to SEBC, it is subject to cuts in government grants which town councils have never received. Many town councils of a similar size charge over £100 a year in Council Tax compared to £13.50 in Bury.The town council represents electors in planning and licensing matters. I suggest that your friend talks to residents at the northern end of Clay Road to ask about the planning application to build a house in a side garden on a bend in the road which SEBC supported but the town council successfully opposed. The greedy developer was sent packing.

  6. A ratepayer in Bury St Edmunds

    I read your comments, Cllr Nettleton but with respect all the things you have mentioned would be taken over by SEBC without the additional costs of administering the Town Council as well.We could do without crossing patrols and get parents to take responsibility for their childrens' safety. But that's not really the issue.Planning and licencing could easy be done by existing departments in SEBC.Is it really greedy to build a house in a garden? I understand you support the proposal to build loads of them on the Ram Meadow car park – which is a flood zone – but correct me if I'm wrong. Does that make the SEBC greedy?And what about the redevelopment in Cotton Lane of the old Thingoe House site into a retirement home which is going ahead without the provision of adequate parking for visitors? Does that make the council irresponsible? Or greedy?And as you are on both councils, is there a conflict of interests?I work for SEBC and we could easily abolish the town council. It's really an unnecessary anachronism. An opportunity for posturing and self-engrandisement IMHO.There. I've admitted it. I work for SEBC. Now I expect there'll be a witch hunt to find out who I am!Thanks for publishing this, Dioclese. I've got it off my chest and frankly I'm past caring if they sack me.If they do, I'll keep you posted and you can publish that as well.

  7. Now then, children! Play nicely…

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