Town council 'should be scrapped' - poll
A REFERENDUM on the future of Bury St Edmunds Town Council revealed last night that most people believe it should be abolished.But the turnout for yesterday's poll - held at a cost of £8,000 - was a meagre 1.
A REFERENDUM on the future of Bury St Edmunds Town Council revealed last night that most people believe it should be abolished.
But the turnout for yesterday's poll - held at a cost of £8,000 - was a meagre 1.27%, with only 358 people bothering to vote out of an eligible 28,143.
However, campaigners still branded the vote a success saying the low turnout demonstrated the lack of interest people felt towards the town council.
In response to the question “Are you in favour of the town council?”101 people voted “yes” and 257 voted “no”.
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Mike Brundle, former leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and staunch opponent of the third-tier authority, claimed the authority - formed in 2003 - had been a “waste of money”.
He said: “It seems it has been a resounding victory for those wanting to get rid of the council. There was a low turnout but I believe that just demonstrates the lack of interest there is in the authority.
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“We have had a democratic vote and now as a result the town council should dissolve itself. That is what we will now be campaigning for.
“There is no doubt in my mind the town council should wind itself up because the people of Bury St Edmunds have spoken.”
Meanwhile, 165 people voted “yes” and 164 voted “no” to the question “Are you aware of how much is already achieved by the town council?”.
A total of 129 voters also said they were aware that local government restructuring could lead to the abolition of district and borough councils in favour of parish councils, while 181 said they were not.
Town mayor Rebecca Hopfensberger was unavailable for comment last night, but earlier town councillor and former town mayor Mike Ames questioned the validity of the poll. He also hinted that it would not lead to the council's demise, regardless of the outcome.
“We plan to continue our work because the poll is not binding - we are here by statute,” Mr Ames said.
“The people who are trying to get rid of us had their opportunity several years ago and they lost. What they don't understand is we are town authority and the borough council is a district authority.”
But David Nettleton, independent borough and town councillor, said: “My view is that if the vote is against the council it will be the beginning of the process which will see its removal.”