Town council to scrap mayoralty

THE mayoralty of a west Suffolk town could be scrapped and the chains of office either sold off or given to a museum, it emerged last night.The future of Bury St Edmunds Town Council has been thrown into doubt after a group set upon its destruction grabbed power during the May elections.

THE mayoralty of a west Suffolk town could be scrapped and the chains of office either sold off or given to a museum, it emerged last night.

The future of Bury St Edmunds Town Council has been thrown into doubt after a group set upon its destruction grabbed power during the May elections.

The Abolish Bury Town Council (ABC) group now holds 10 of the council's 17 seats and group leader Roy Bebbington last night confirmed he would be steamrolling ahead with his election pledge to axe the offices of town mayor and deputy mayor.

He will propose the move at the council's first meeting under ABC control.


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He said: “As indicated in our election leaflets, our intention is to dispose of the chains of office - either by selling them off or by giving them to a museum. We will see what the public wants to do with them.

“We no longer want a mayor or deputy mayor and I shall be pushing for a chairman and vice chairman.”

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Bob Cockle, the first mayor of St Bury St Edmunds when the town council was set up in 2003, said the idea of replacing the mayoralty with a leader or chairman was not a new idea and that it had been raised by members in January this year.

However he said he did not want to see the chains of office, which cost nearly £3,000 in 2003, sold off or given away.

He said: “In the event of a change of title, I would bring a strong recommendation that we keep the chain. It is a basic symbol and a badge of honour.”

The town council has also come under fire over its website, which states there are just seven elected councillors on the council - rather than the actual 17 members - and provides details of just six.

It is understood the council is awaiting formal papers to be completed by new councillors before their names are added to the website.

Mr Bebbington said he was not overly bothered by the fact he and his group were currently omitted from the site but added he felt a line should have been included stating the list of councillors was currently being updated.

The existing Labour and Conservative members of the council - Patrick Chung, Bob Cockle, Richard Rout, Paul Simner, Clive Springett, Christopher Turner and Kevin Waterson - have written to the secretary of state for local government Ruth Kelly asking for an investigation into the viability of the council.

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