Helston Town Council at War
For anyone who knows me, they will know I am not easily shocked. However, from what I witnessed at the recent Helston Town Council meeting has left me shocked and disgusted. A town, or parish council first duty is to the public they represent. Sadly, Helston Town Council has failed to do this fundamental duty due to the civil war now engulfing this council.
Instead, they have engaged in petty point scoring, spitefulness and acts of shameful self-importance. If many members of this council spent half as much time with trying to improve Helston instead of tearing strips out of each other they actually might achieve something.
Last Thursday I sat through over two hours of the worse council meeting I have ever been to. It is also the first time I witnessed members of the public stand up and call for the entire council to stand down because they are a disgrace. Even an ex-mayor turned up to tell the assembled council how badly they were behaving.
Once the public had their say the council literally turned on its self when discussing two agenda items. Those being the re-discussion of if the council should let Helston’s Twinning Association use the guildhall for free and the no-confidence vote on the current mayor.
The twining vote was being reheard because two councillor might not have adhered to the Code of Conduct for Councillors. This is still being investigated, so no ruling has yet been made to establish if any breach took place. The last decision in October was the twinning association could use the Guildhall for free.
This time however, the vote went the other way, but worse, a the motion put forward that no group or organisation would be allowed to use this public building for free. I feel this was a truly wrong decision. After all a building of this nature belongs to the people, and a town/parish council are merely custodians, not owners.
You would think it would not get any worse; it did, with the no-confidence motion. This really descended to a new low. Granted, there was one or two notable exceptions who did indeed keep their dignity, but the rest, well…… To be honest I am not going to say much more on this, I could, but it would just make me angry again on what I had witnessed. In the end a vote was taken and the no-confidence motion on the current mayor was carried six votes to four (two of the four votes were from the mayor and deputy).
The mayor said he would not stand down, but indicated he would reconsider his position in January. For those who are saying the mayor lost the vote, but can still be mayor? I’ll explain there is no rule anyone has to stand down if they lose this type of vote. Now, after two hours I really had enough, and left the meeting.
Should the current town council stand down like many who attended the meeting called for? The simple answer would be yes, but would this achieve anything? Why, because would anyone actually stand for the vacant position; or would you just get the same people back because of the lack of interest? Last night 35 members of the public turned up at the meeting. This is out of a population of over 10,000. In fact in council terms 35 people attending a meeting at the same time is a packed house.
At the time of writing there are two vacancies on the town council. Let’s hope there will be an election. To make sure there is an election the rules state you need 10 people on the electoral register of Helston to write to Cornwall Council’s electoral services requesting an election. If not, these two places will be filled by co-option.
Will there be an election and more importantly, anyone wishing to stand for that election?