What have the BeFuddleds done for you?

Following on from our in depth and searching article earlier this week when we tried to answer the burning question ‘What have the BeFuddleds done for us?’ Former Councillor Fencesitter is on hand to explain and defend his beloved BeFuddleds, many of whom would prefer it if he stopped interfering. (Additional reporting by the SomersetClive team).

The BeFuddleds on Smalltown and Dullbridge Town Council have done an awful lot for you. You just don’t know about it. I’ve had a good old think and I’ve come up with a few examples, which I think everyone will agree have made the world of difference to the lives of residents in Smalltown. Oh, and that other place.

Council meetings now alternate between Burnham and Highbridge.

The cost of hiring Porland Community Hub is £30 a time. Over 12 months, with four meetings in Dullbridge this adds an extra cost of £120 to expenditure, unnecessary spending whilst Smalltown and Dullbridge (SaD) Town Council continue to cling on to Hayloft Road Palace, where meetings can be held at no additional cost. It should be noted that not a single Dullbridge resident has attended a Porland meeting, and the usual audience of three members of the publ8c now have to trek across Smalltown to Dullbridge.

We’ve abolished the need to register to speak at Council committee meetings.

Which is why all SaDTC agendas include the words “A public participation session will now be held before the meeting starts. Anyone wishing to speak on any matters is encouraged to give notice of the request and subject matter to the Smalltown Administration Guru no later than midday on the last working day prior to the meeting.
Public participation shall be restricted to the public participation session, unless directed otherwise by the Chair. In accordance with standing orders the public participation time will not exceed15 minutes in total with no individual speaker exceeding 3 minutes.”

Drop Out session the week before council meetings to talk to councillors.

The original idea for this hinged on the idea that the Agenda for the SaDTC Full Council meetings would be available before the Drop Out session. However, SaDTC consistently flout the Local Government Act which says that ‘Agendas should be available 3 clear working days before the meeting – not including the date the agenda is released or the date of the meeting.’ Currently the agenda is only released after the Drop out meeting, meaning only psychics can discuss the contents.

Reform of financial regulations.

As if the residents of Smalltown and Dullbridge care. What they would like to see is less money spent on personal projects and ridiculous ideas and more money spent on actually improving the lives of all. Residents would dearly love to be consulted about the vast sums of their money spent on the White Elephant Enclosure, but SaDTC are still muddling along thinking they have the knowledge and experience needed to run the place.

Encouragement of committee chairs to highlight activities and decisions of their committee at Council.

Except they don’t actually do it. Where is the explanation from the Committee Chair explaining exactly why SaDTC needed to spend an astronomical sum on Christmas Trees? What was the procurement process? How many Tree Suppliers were contacted?

Reform of standing orders and terms of reference to clarity responsibility of committees and to refer more important decisions to council.

Again residents don’t care about the paperwork. Plus, this had to be undertaken so that all the new Councillors who had (and still have) no idea what they are doing.
Take Dictator Dullard’s decision to agree with the All-New-Yet-Unimproved Somerset Cuonty Council that the Dangerous Tree should be removed. That decision (and many others) was taken before the matter was discussed in Committee.

Updating of council strategic plan, including new emphasis on sustainable living with the climate change and ecological emergency policy.

Great. So now SaDTC are trying to tell us how to live our lives and wasting time and money on a Climate Rescue Action Plan (CRAP) which isn’t going to save the world.

Initiatives arising from the sustainability thread eg repair workshops, bus improvement group, other green initiatives ( see CRAP Festival).

You mean like the decision to sign up for the cheapest energy, rather than the sustainable and ecological friendly tariff? Or waste money on the dullest of dull festivals. That money would have been better spent on bigger and better bins on Smalltown seafront or encouraging takeaway owners to have their own bins.

Dullbridge regeneration working party (building on the pressure I exerted on Sadgebore and which resulted in a new regeneration policy for Dullbridge which is a statutory planning policy)

Ah yes, the Re-Invent Dullbridge scheme. Deeply unpopular with everyone in Dullbridge. No actual tangible benefits to the town other than to kill it off even more by making it harder to access the shops. Meantime, while you were looking the other way, Sadgebore approved plan upon plan to build more houses in the area.

In addition, as a Sadgeboor councillor, I successfully lobbied for Burnham to be the subject of a government High Street Task Force initiative and got £50k put into the last Sedgemoor budget to support this. The Town Council is part of the resultant Town Bored working on this.

Except the £50k can only be used to pay a professional to come up with ideas and advise the Town Bored. There’s no money in the pot to pay for any improvements. In addition the very people responsible for blocking any new ideas for Smalltown are members of the Bored, so we can no doubt look forward to more of the same.

Whilst it was good of Former Councillor Fencesitter to get off his post to explain matters to us, the obvious Conclusion to the question ‘What have the BeFuddleds done for us?’ is still nothing.

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