Thursday, 17 June 2010


Sometimes you can look at the same problem from different ends and it looks exactly the same.

As a local councillor, I am deeply depressed about how dysfunctional local government is and how the structure is designed to fail.

When out having conversations on the doorsteps peoples frustrations comes through, we know as councillors three tiers of local government is silly.

The parish/Town council is largely a talking shop, partly of their own making partly legal, 16 councillors sitting around discussing Shepton issues with few resources.

Mendip District Council is a small district council with a small tax base, highly dependant on central government grant, a disporportionently small cut in grant from government will either cause disporporationately large cuts in services or big tax increases, but as the CONDEMs have ruled out tax rises, this could seriously challenge Mendips viability.

Somerset County Council behaves in a remote fashion, one of the major complaints I hear, time and time again is the lack of youth provision in Shepton, this is a County function. We are continually promised pedestrian crossings outside our schools, they are never delivered, some may say this is cynical politics by previous Lib Dem and current Conservative county councillors, what ever the reason, people are not happy.

Bus services from Bristol do not come through Shepton onwards to Yeovil or Bridgwater, why does Shepton not have a direct bus service to either Bath or Bristol?

The pavements and surfaces in the town centre are simply unacceptable, yet inaction by the county council.

There are examples of how councils work together, the best example is Somerset waste partnership, this is where district and county form services, but both councils need not exist for somerset waste partnership to operate.

For me we need a strategic tier of local government and a civic tier, Town Councils need to concerned with all aspects of civic pride, grass cutting, street cleaning, town promotion, simply how the town looks.

Largely people don't care about this detail, they know there has been extensive housing growth in the town in the last 20 years, the rational for this is, this growth will lead to new services.

Sadly for too long these new services have never materialised and provision of existing services has got worse, no wonder people are concerned, more tax for less service.

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