Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?

Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?
I did! I was elected as a Councillor for the Lynn South & West ward of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk on 5th May 2011.

A little bit about me:
I have lived in South Lynn for 7 years with my wife and work locally for the Norfolk Primary Care Trust as an IT Manager.

I am a Labour Councillor and whilst the local Labour group made some encouraging gains in the May elections (moving from 4 councillors to 13) we are still very much a minority opposition as the Tories hold 42 of the 64 council seats.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekly Blog, January 6th - 12th

Having made a resolution to try to blog more regularly this year, I have decided to try something I have seen done to great effect by a few other bloggers, namely a 'Weekly Blog'.

The week should have started with attendance at the South & West Lynn Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) but I was not available for this meeting and had previously resigned as Vice-Chair following the petty political gamesmanship demonstrated by the Council's administration at the last full council of 2013. I have included at the end of this post my speech at that meeting to help explain why I took the unusual step of resigning my outside body appointments. I will of course, still be regularly attending to hear the concerns of residents and will still be working with the neighbourhood teams for the benefit of the community.

The second meeting of the King's Lynn Area Consultative Committee (KLACC) - a committee made up of Kings Lynn town councillors (in lieu of a Town or Parish Councils).

I had asked for an urgent item to be discussed at this meeting as I had discovered that a community group had submitted an application for the football ground at The Walks to be listed as an Asset of Community Value. This means that any future sale would have to be put on hold and the community group consulted about the potential sale. This is an important asset for the whole of King's Lynn and one that is currently owned by the Council so I felt it was important that the decision was given some consideration by a wider group than the standard policy requires.

The committee was addressed by the deputy chief executive who explained the process and confirmed that as the community group (The Blue and Gold Trust) had been validated as a qualifying community group and that the guidance around the process was fairly rigid, it was very likely that this application would be accepted and 'The Walks' entered on to the register.

The Committee also considered a report about a proposed link road between Edward Benefer Way and LynnSport, eventually recommending that the proposal be worked up and planning permission applied for. I am slightly concerned about this proposal as the justification for this expenditure is that the road is required to open up development land and it would be unlikely to obtain the required level of Community Infrastructure Levy from any developers interested in developing that land. In my view, this is nothing more than using public money to increase the profitability of private developers and would rather see other avenues, that do not require such heavy investment in infrastructure, explored to meet the area's very real housing needs.

The final item for discussion was 'Special Expenses' - this is the Town equivalent of a Parish 'Precept' on the Council Tax Bill. There was a presentation on what the Special Expenses cover - things like street lighting, allotments, parks and recreation areas etc. and an expressed
Intention to keep this as a live issue so that the Committee might have a realistic input in to how this money is raised and spent from 2015/16 (it being too late in the planning process to make any changes for this year).

The KLACC is a new initiative that has been fought for by King's Lynn councillors to ensure that there is some form of input to decisions about King's Lynn by elected representatives for the area. It is a public forum and it was encouraging that there were a couple of public attendees at this meeting.

Speech to Full Council, 28th November 2013 - Changes to Outside Bodies 

Thank you Madam Mayor

I do appreciate the opportunity to debate this motion, I believe this is only the third time since I was elected in 2011 that a motion has been debated and looking back at the minutes of previous council meetings it becomes clear that the key to having a motion debated in full council is to have it proposed by Cllr Daubney.

In terms of the content of this particular motion, I am minded to vote against it as I believe it represents nothing more than a tantrum on behalf of the ruling group. The positions being considered are not ‘political’ positions, they are not affected by the same proportionality rules that the council’s panels and committees, for example, are and, indeed, some of the incumbents have been appointed to these outside bodies on the basis of being able to lend skills, expertise and knowledge to those outside bodies – are we to believe that such qualities have now been lost purely because the incumbent no longer pays a subscription to the Conservative group?

If the ruling group is intent on controlling all of the appointments to outside bodies in this way then I for one will have to give serious consideration to my membership of outside bodies on behalf of this council. 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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