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READER LETTER: 'Councillor's view on town hall is smoke and mirrors'

PUBLISHED: 08:05 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:42 05 April 2019

Sheringham Town Hall.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sheringham Town Hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

Sadly, the letter from Peter Cox (North Norfolk News, March 19) does not help the democratic process.

It is a cunning attempt to muddy the waters and imply that only he is the champion of the residents of Sheringham.

Everyone on the council is acting for the benefit of the residents and to imply otherwise does despite to his fellow councillors, who take very seriously their duties in relation to everything the town entrusts to them. In any institution, the reality is that long-standing functionaries, are in great danger of becoming complacent.

Over the years, they can become unaware that what they thought was good practice, what they considered to be of sufficiently high standard, had become archaic.

Certainly, I believe over the last four or five years, councillor Cox has shown that he has become fossilized in his thinking.

He deludes himself into believing we have been (indeed are) a quality Council.

Sheringham Town has not been able to demonstrate, as Beeston Regis Parish Council has, that this is the case. We want to see that change. His approach (deliberately or unintentionally) is to bombastically bluster things through.

Thus, he gives the impression that his longevity of service inevitably gives unchallengeable credence to what he says.

When he is challenged, he resorts to behaving in ways which many would consider totally unacceptable.

The residents of Sheringham can be reassured that the town is in good hands. At present we have a healthy majority of councillors from right across the political spectrum who are united in their commitment to ensure this is so.

This is why we have sought to overhaul the council’s policies, procedures and systems to ensure we operate effectively and efficiently, whilst being environmentally responsible and giving residents the best possible value for money – and bring the council into the 21st century.

So, what about the town hall, built as stated in 1912, six years before women got the vote – if they – like men – were over 21!

That alone speaks for itself. It was built at a time when the ordinary man was meant to doff his cap to local councillors and women hide themselves behind the menfolk.

It doesn’t need the expense of getting a professional opinion to confirm the building is not fit for purpose – ask the users. For instance, there are no adequate escape facilities in case of fire, especially for those not able-bodied.

There is no wheelchair access to the first floor, sorry we cannot have anyone with such limited mobility in the council chamber.

And, in 2019, should the staff kitchen be in the ladies toilet?

There is not space to counter all the claims made by councillor Cox, most of which are a morass of untruths and misrepresentation.

But comments such as “Too many members of Sheringham Town Council want to keep the majority of members” (residents?)“ ignorant of the facts”, is not only libellous, it indicates the lengths to which someone will go to do the very thing he accuses others of doing.

He is correct in saying: “Residents have a legal right to challenge the actions of their council.”

Challenging Councillor Cox as to why Sheringham’s share of council tax has had to rise by 14pc (even after a five-fold increase in the use of reserves), may well reveal how much mismanagement, to which he was party, has been so costly to Sheringham residents.

Ultimately, residents have the right to vote off town councillors, in less than six week’s time. Therefore, I urge everyone to find out the real facts and, if necessary exercise their right to do so.

PETER FARLEY

Chestnut Grove

Sheringham

-What do you think? To share your views on this issue and others, email nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

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