Last evening the Shepton Mallet Town Council finally heard the message that the Town does not want to spend money on a feasibility study into a civic centre (or whatever it's called). The Council rescinded their earlier decision to do so.
The Council also decided to conduct a Neighbourhood Plan with full public consultation, this to be worked up in the coming period.
This offers all members of our community an opportunity to shape the Shepton we want.
Hopefully this will offer a new dawn.
This is all good news. Hopefully after all the issues that are outstanding with the civic hall can be dealt with, and the community are given answers to remaining questions.
There were a number of councillors who switched their votes, this was encouraging, I have to say both Cllrs Cook and Gibbs did explain their decisions to switch their votes, others did not, with cllr Champion not voting at the first meeting having left for explained reason before the vote on a feasibility study.
I thought an amusing incident happened during the debate on rescinding the feasibility study, Cllr John Parham rebuked both cllr Cook and Gibbs for changing their minds and changing their votes and suggested training for those members, as it was important for councillors to understand the necessity of making the right decision..
Nothing funny in that you may think.
Until you realise that cllr Parham was against building a civic hall, voted for a feasibility into an ill defined community building and just to get a full set, abstained on rescinding the feasibility study, now anyone for training?
Being involved in the debate you realise the supporters of the feasibility study and a civic facility have not established a coherent argument for either the need for a facility or the public desire for one. This is particularly frightening as these people were prepared to spend tax payers money on it.
Some councillors has chosen to reopen the costing for the previous Town Poll on the Civic facility, the Council took legal opinion and paid for the poll, this is how the issue should stay. Resolved for the Council. We should move on.
A number of Councillors did accuse, me, Will and Garfield of being anti democratic and not respecting the 12 councillors who voted for a feasibility study.
This only holds water if you believe the Townspeople views are less important than councillors, one councillor even suggested that the three councillors had bullied the remaining councillors by getting an 1800 or so petition, this to me is perverse, democratically elected councillors have the right to engage with the community, it is clear that the councillor who made that comment knows that the voters are king although he voted against rescinding the feasibility study, he knew that a majority of cllrs could not continue in the face of huge community opposition.
For the Record for rescinding the money for a feasibility study;
Cllrs Champion, Cook, Dunscombe, Gibbs, Kennedy, Me, Lovell, Shearn
Cllrs Bartlett, Curtis, Height, Kinneston, J Marsh, T Marsh, Marvin