It is a fact that the general public can ask questions at a meeting of the West Suffolk Council or the Town Council. For both, this is limited to 30 minutes in total.
Each speaker is allowed 5 minutes, and this is where the process gets abused. This evening, myself and a friend both asked questions. Questions which we had previously submitted to the council with plenty of time for answers to be written up.
I very much doubt that the answers were written by the speakers, but most like a council official who has not been voted in.
Both questions asked were relatively short, bearing in mind there is a 5-minute limit, and then came the answers. Waffle answers… Answers which both went on for longer than 5 minutes thus rendering any further questions, questions which the councillors would have had to answer without assistance, were not allowed.
So, for the record, my question related to the waste of money the West Suffolk Council spends on their attempt to get a Business Improvement District in place.
My Question Was
Having spent a total of £10,245 for the cost for The Mosaic Partnership which is £8,160 and CIVICA Election Services £2,085, which can now not be recovered from the Heart of Haverhill BID, Will the Economic Development and Growth Department be wasting more money like this in the future when they attempt to force a Business Improvement District into Haverhill or any other towns in West Suffolk.
The answer from Councillor Susan Glossop was total waffle. Rambling on about how they are trying to help businesses in West Suffolk.
She then went on to say that the “West Suffolk did not initiate the BID process”. Note from my question, this is not what was asked.
She also went on to claim that the BID had been initiated by local businesses. This is incorrect as well, as it was just one business which had initiated it. Still not answering the question.
Susan Glossop then went on to say that there would then be to “facilitate a fair ballot and let the businesses decide“. In which case, why does the council choose to always vote yes, and not abstain?
Susan then reiterated what she had said, by saying “it is not for us to decide”, and then she finally had the cheek and audacity to say that she “could have said more!“ Can we therefore expect in the future, that hereditament votes which the council has for car parks and toilets etc will be abstained then? She knew exactly what she was doing…. As indeed was the next farce with Andy Drummond.
Now this waffle talking for 5 minutes could be a one off, but then Rob Dorling representing the Hackney Taxis in West Suffolk had the same waffled answer from Councillor Andy Drummond. Answers which could have been a lot shorter, but it is obvious that neither Glossop or Drummond were willing or able to answer follow up questions.
So, what would my follow up question have been?
One of The Seven Principles of Public Life is Objectivity, by having consistently voting YES for BIDs in an attempt to sway the BID vote, can you honestly say you are acting impartially, or fairly towards local businesses without discrimination or bias? Especially as both Cllr Susan Glossop and Cllr Andy Drummond are BID Directors of Love Newmarket, and Andrea Mayley (Service Manager for Economic Development & Business Growth, at WSC) is ALSO a BID Director for Our Bury St Edmunds. And Our Bury St Edmunds and also as Barry Peters the editor of the Bury Free Press is also a BID Director, how can he be impartial?
One of the other councillors present has said,
“I felt the way you (and the taxi guy, too) we’re talked out tonight was disgraceful. If members of the public are treated so disrespectfully, no wonder people think politicians are rubbish.”
So, my open question to the West Suffolk Council and to the Chair, Margaret Marks, are ALL of the public treated so disrespectfully?
Also, as elected members of the council, should councillors be rejecting emails from the general public, not addressing them, but passing them to their SPAM folder? Is this not an abuse of their position, namely Andy Drummond.