Town council's future questioned
THE future of a town council has been thrown into doubt following calls for a parish poll over whether the authority should be abolished.A group of residents in Bury St Edmunds claim the council, led by newly appointed mayor Becky Hopfensperger, is a waste of taxpayers' money and should be disbanded.
THE future of a town council has been thrown into doubt following calls for a parish poll over whether the authority should be abolished.
A group of residents in Bury St Edmunds claim the council, led by newly appointed mayor Becky Hopfensperger, is a waste of taxpayers' money and should be disbanded.
But the council last night hit back at the claims, and defended its place at the grass roots of politics in the town.
Former St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader Mike Brundle - one of the ten residents present at the town council's AGM who demanded the poll - said the aim was to let the people of Bury decide whether there was a need for the authority or not.
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He said: “Since the conception of the town council, I think it has been a total waste of money, with very little gain.
“It is made up of people who, at the end of the day, feel they have got something to offer but it is nothing more than the borough council is already doing.
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“There is a lot of apathy towards the town council, and a lot of people do not even understand what it does, and we are adamant we will bring home to people exactly what is going on, and then let them decide for themselves what the council's future is.”
Mr Brundle said the next step for those in support of the poll was to set up the Bury Interest Group (BIG), with the aim of looking at exactly what the council was doing.
As well as asking people if they are in favour of the continuation of the council, the poll - which is due to be held later this year - will consist of three further questions being posed by the town council, including whether voters want to lose their democratic voice in the town.
Mrs Hopfensperger, who was chosen to lead the town council at the meeting on Wednesday, said she was “disappointed” in the call for a parish poll, which she said was not a constructive way forward for the town.
“It is a young council, having only been reinstated in 2002, but we have got a lot of things in the pipeline,” she said.
“I am disappointed that a handful of people feel the need for a parish poll, because they do not seem to understand how the council works.
“I believe in democracy and believe in people having their say, but we are all here for the people of Bury and we should be working together, not against each other.
“Legally we have to accept the poll, and that is exactly what we have done, but it will cost thousands of pounds and it is not a good way to spend taxpayers' money.
“We have been working very closely with the borough council to take back some of the power we would have had if we were an established town council, but some people do not seem to want to give us a chance.”