I went along to the West Suffolk Council meeting this evening at West Suffolk House.
You can guarantee that most of it was intensely boring with councillors talking their budget. I videoed most of the proceedings, and as most people had too much to say, it went on a bit too long. Odd that, as I was only allowed 5 minutes to discuss a potential financial disaster which might fall upon the businesses of Haverhill. As it happened, it transpired that the West Suffolk Council were out to pervert the BID Vote.
Now remember that if a member of the public wants to ask as question, they have to submit it first to enable the councillors to pull together their answers. The question was submitted at 14:25 on 22nd February, plenty of time for them to cobble something together, BUT, it seems they didn’t want the embarrassment of having to answer a secondary undisclosed question. Is it any wonder this happened?
So I asked the following
My questions this evening refer to the current ballot for the Haverhill BID
As the Council is legislated as a BID partner, and has a vested interest in BID businesses the council also has a moral responsibility to allow a fair ballot to take place.
For this to be achieved with transparency for the businesses, isn’t it the moral responsibility of the council to be seen to do the right thing and abstain from voting for its properties of car parks and toilets, to allow the businesses, decide for themselves, one way or the other.
As the West Suffolk Council is a different type of voter, and given it’s block voting influence towards a YES or NO, they have the responsibility to the actual businesses who have had to struggle through lockdown, to make the decision about their future without relying on Council votes to win the ballot.
With greatly increased business costs of electricity and gas on the horizon, surely it would serve the West Suffolk Council well to take the moral high ground and abstain from using those hereditaments.
The Council would be seen as embracing democracy and the true spirit of the BID system by allowing those hard-working businesses to decide for themselves how their town should be promoted, without the need to have a decision made by local government intervention.
Unfortunately because I had changed my question slightly, I was informed that the question of how the West Suffolk Council should vote was swept aside, without being able to follow this up with a follow up question.
My Supplementary Question
As a director of the Love Newmarket BID and portfolio holder for Growth, Cllr Susan Glossop, do you not think it is morally wrong to be paying The Mosaic Partnership, exorbitant sums of money to push a BID through in Haverhill, where the proportion of tenanted properties far out-weigh that of Newmarket, where the Love Newmarket BID has had to cover over windows with pictures of busy shops to wallpaper over the lack of shops.
Is it not of some concern that national chain stores such as the The Works have consistently voted against the imposition of BIDs across the country, and now they have also vote NO for a BID in Haverhill which would see two directors collecting 40% of the total revenue.
Suffice to say, i have forwarded this on to all councillors so they may draw their own conclusions and, understanding that their actions does not concern their own money, but it can me an awful lot to the independent businesses who have not only had to struggle through the pandemic, but also face rising inflation and higher fuel bills. The councillors, such as Susan Glossop does not have to use her own money to pay a BID levy (another name for a tax)
There are STILL a number of businesses who have not received their ballot papers even though it has been running now for 12 days.
This is a technique that The Mosaic Partnership uses. so it came as no surprise to hear this.
They also make the envelopes look like junk mail in the hope that potential businesses will bin them without even opening them.
Lets make sure that all real businesses who are eligible to vote do so, excluding the West Suffolk Council.
This is as much as the Full Council Meeting I could bear.
Mo Aswat advises Councils How to Pervert the BID Vote