Tendring: Deprived ward will not be represented on Big Society funding committee

Tendring District Council leader Peter Halliday

Tendring District Council leader Peter Halliday - Credit: Contributed

JAYWICK will not be represented on a committee set-up to improve opportunities for young people despite it being the most deprived area in the country.

Tendring District Council (TDC) has introduced a working party to oversee how hundreds of thousands of pounds from their Big Society Fund should be allocated.

But because of disagreements over who should sit on the committee, the district’s most deprived area is not currently being represented.

Council leader Peter Halliday said he wants a committee that “reflects the political spectrum” and is inclusive of all geographical areas.

At a cabinet meeting held last Friday, Mr Halliday said he wanted Jaywick represented on the committee and both Labour councillors for the area had been asked but had declined.

But leader of the opposition Labour group Ivan Henderson accused Mr Halliday of “dictating” to political groups who can sit on the committee.

He said all members of the party, including two from Jaywick, had agreed Harwich councillor Jo Henderson should sit on the working party but this had been rejected by Mr Halliday.

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Mr Henderson said: “We as a group have chosen who we want on the committee and he is telling us who we have to have. He cannot dictate who we put forward.

“I would never expect to tell another leader who he puts on a committee. It’s not right. He’s putting us into this position.”

He said no other committees at the council included members based on a geographical spread and whoever represented the Labour group on the Bog Society working party would be expected to examine bids for funding in Jaywick.

“I have confidence in any of my Labour councillors to be able to discuss bids from Jaywick or any area and take those back to the working party to discuss,” he added.

During the meeting, Mr Halliday accused the Labour opposition of “making politics out of the situation” and said the seats for the Labour councillors in Jaywick would remain open.

“The ball is their court. They have been offered a seat and I am amazed Ivan is choosing to make politics out of it.

“I will leave the seats open on that panel. My offer of engagement is still there.”

Current members of the working party include Conservative councillors Claire Callender, Stephen Mayzes, Paul Honeywood, Independent councillor Tom Howard and Lib Dem councillor Gary Scott.

Jaywick councillors Dan Casey and Nick Brown said they were “disappointed” nobody from their ward would be represented on the working party but stood by their party’s decision.

An invitation to Tendring First councillor Mark Cossens, who is also mayor of Frinton and Walton, was declined, Mr Halliday said.

The working party, chaired by Mr Halliday, will decide how just over £340,000 will be spent on community-led projects which will aim to improve opportunities for young people and address education and skills in the area.