Neighbourhood Committees to be axed? That might be the case if the new PCC budget proposal is accepted following consultation. It might also see the demise of community leaders funding.
Our local 'Cllr Turnip' can in the process add another glittering accolade to his political career, he's been involved in a few closures or attempting to close things down, and to our certain knowledge even invented one to beef up his web profile (now amended). The closure of neighbourhood committees under his watch, and as a fully expensed chair of one of them which included the ward of the Council Leader, was on the cards as Cllr Cereste sat through the last Stanground neighbourhood meeting clearly wishing the ground would open. The speaker from the outsourced contract holders Enterprise helpfully explained, at length, that cleaning up frozen dog excrement from the Greenwheel (as some dog owners of dogs still refuse to bag and bin it), was not their problem.
In fact the whole of the Greenwheel had actually been specifically excluded from their deal. Cllr Cereste claims that some people had been against the idea of |Neighbourhood Committees from the start, not so. It was just the flawed way the rigid system was originally set up, and widely reported at the time, so all concerned had ample time to put fixes in place, a few were actioned, but most just ignored by the majority party.
It could of course been so different, but the decision to keep political control of the appointment of the chair firmly within the Peterborough Tory massive, put a few of the robotic voting. normally unseen, unheard conservative councillors, in full public glare. It also gave political opponents a chance to 'have a go' eventually leading to claims that the meetings should be non political. Fat chance of that!
Some councillors and officials making public presentations for perhaps the first time (even if they had been Tory councillors, or on the council payroll for a few years) but it did give local people and commentators ample time - usually after the first outing - to tease out their political capabilities and local knowledge. The first chair we had for the Stanground Fletton and Wooston Neighbourhood Committee didn't really stay the distance, or perhaps she just had enough, and didn't renew the challenge, popping up elsewhere.
The organisers also seemingly had the determination to make some of the meetings as banal as possible. Poor PowerPoints (slides), dull speakers and some senior officers who flatly refused to use microphones, and not forgetting, a mandatory bout of Youth Forum chanting to a script, they had clearly not seen before or had time to rehearse and couldn't wait to be excused. When the real point of the meeting, for many, was in fact the Public Forum but placed at the back end of the meeting, late into the night and clearly too late for some, especially in the middle of Winter.
The council is saying the scrapping of the neighbourhood committees will save around £33k per annum, cancelling out the income from blue disability badges, now charged out at £10. In reality that figure could be somewhat more as no doubt officer expenses, transport, room hire, and time in preparation of materials and documents also need to be accounted for.
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