Councillors should put town before party
ISN'T it about time councillors at Civic Centre in Ipswich started growing up and thinking about the wellbeing of the town rather than their own careers?Frankly the antics at Ipswich council since June's election have been pretty pathetic – no one seems interested in major issues affecting the town, only in political point scoring.
ISN'T it about time councillors at Civic Centre in Ipswich started growing up and thinking about the wellbeing of the town rather than their own careers?
Frankly the antics at Ipswich council since June's election have been pretty pathetic – no one seems interested in major issues affecting the town, only in political point scoring.
All the parties are to blame – and frankly when you see what's happening in the town it's pretty obvious why most voters don't see why they should take part in this charade and actually go out and vote.
There are some very important issues facing the town and the borough council at the moment, but none of the councillors seem interested in talking about them.
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All they're interested in is who'll be in charge of things in October. Who will be on the executive? Will the mayor be thrown out? They should have better things to worry about.
Labour were so desperate to remain in control of the executive that they used the absence of a Liberal Democrat councillor to snatch power at the annual council meeting.
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But of course that wasn't the end of it. We now have a situation where the opposition parties are seriously hacked off and are determined to take pot-shots at the executive whenever they can.
The executive is terrified to take any decisions because its members know they can be overturned at the next council meeting.
And now with the change to standing orders forced through at last month's council meeting, the executive knows it can be voted out at any time – and it's members are starting to look like frightened rabbits caught in the headlights of a juggernaut.
I don't know if the Labour group was too arrogant or too stupid to have foreseen these consequences when they made their snatch for power – but the inertia they created is causing serious damage to town and could end up costing council taxpayers more money.
But presumably they aren't as concerned about the town as they are about the future of Ipswich Labour Party!
The Tories aren't really any better – yes, they're hacked off but does it really help anyone to run around causing mayhem in Civic Centre for the sake of it?
Some issues look like common sense – but they've fallen victim to the political impotance that's gripped the place.
For a start, what about the future of the Civic Centre?
An independent survey carried out for the council has revealed it will cost £13 million to make the place safe for the next 10 years – if that isn't done the building will be unuseable by the end of next year.
This isn't "new news." This news was first revealed by The Star in January.
But still the council hasn't formally decided whether to go ahead and move to a new site or where the new site should be.
The decision has been bogged down because there's no political leadership at the borough – and everyone is terrified that whatever decision is taken will be overturned at the next meeting.
Back in January we were told that the future of Civic Centre would be discussed in March and that if it was decided to move out, which was almost certain, work on the new offices would start August (this month) ready to be finished by December 2005.
The old council did discuss the future of Civic Centre in March and agreed in principle to move to new offices. They agreed to draw up a plan for the move, which included moving many staff to other offices around the town.
But since the June elections nothing has happened.
We may get a decision next month – but even if that does happen, when will the work start? Don't forget there's still the small matter of planning consent!
This delay is largely because of the political posturing we've seen since the election.
I asked a senior Tory what they thought of the plans. "We'll wait and see," I was told.
What a cop-out! The fact is that if Civic Centre is pressed into service after January 1, 2006 there will be serious costs associated with the delay in moving. There will have to be extra insurance premiums paid and extra maintenance costs.
The Tories might be happy to see council tax bills go up so they can play political party games – I suspect most voters won't feel the same way.