Grantham Journal letter: Parishioners find it hard to trust council

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Following the mass local turnouts at the recent public meeting at Bottesford Cricket Club and the past two parish council meetings at Muston and Bottesford, it is very apparent that the parish council has lost the trust of wide sections of Bottesford. How many times have we heard the chair, Dermot Daly, plead ‘There must be some misunderstanding’?

It is necessary to have a much greater control of how the parish council conducts its meetings - with, for example, all contributions to discussion going through the chair rather than as so often degenerating in to a tea-party gabble.

It is also important for the present PC members to realise that they are largely unelected and are spending public money. It is insufficient to start from the point of saying ‘we must do more to tell the public what we are doing’. The starting point must be to first ask the public what they would like to be done rather than to present the public with ‘done deal’ expensive projects that are then charged against the 116 per cent rise in the precept over the past two years.

It is also important for projected full revenue costings of each proposed project to be made clear because these will be costs to be met by future precepts - precepts that will become the responsibility (and liability?) of future parish councils, not this one.

This central principle of basic financial responsibility and transparency applies as much to the installation of adult and children’s play equipment as to maintaining a parish office - let alone maintaining an intended £500,000 Heritage Centre.

It is not difficult to recall a number of political ‘leaders’ who have taken delight in raising monuments to national glory but were not too keen on democracy and listening to the voice of the people. Thus it is not surprising that at Monday’s meeting when a resident asked if a vote could be taken on a call of ‘No confidence in the parish council’ the chair said ‘No, the parish council would not like that’. But, of course we realise that turkeys are not keen on the coming of Christmas.

Colin Love