LETTER: How is your cash being spent in Brierfield?

It’s very sad to note a difficult change in the area you live and work in, but a crisis of confidence is beginning to grow at an alarming rate in the way we are being governed down at grass roots level.

The performance of the controlling group on Brierfield Town Council is now beginning to cause concern, and their self-appointed leader doesn’t seem too interested in community cohesion.

There has been the issue of using precept money to do up unadopted roads in the group’s political area.

This is the responsibility of the residents. It may seem hard but that’s a fact. If the residents want to club together to get the road done to county council standard, they then have a chance the county will adopt it.

Brierfield has a lot of unadopted roads, unfortunately. We in Brierfield pay an additional precept on top of our rates. It comes to around £40 a year. We get an additional grant of around £10,000 from the borough council, and this money is supposed to be used, and has always been understood to be used, for all the community. In fact, each year, councillors were obliged to find community projects that would benefit as many people as possible.

The controlling political group (Brierfield up to now has always had a non-political volunteer council - now we have the equivalent of a three line whip) spent around £10,000 from the town’s fund or 20% of your money in one go on a project that’s none of their business.

Add to that further funds meant for the whole town from the area committee, and that was quite a raid.

When some of us tried to protest, our speaking time was cut, and the following ructions on the fact we, or in this case me, had even dared to speak against this action, you would have thought I was after slaughtering their first born.

At the council meeting on January 23rd, we learned this controlling group actually wanted to increase the precept by around £4 (when almost everywhere else is freezing rates) then they wanted to allocate £1,000 for entertainment while they consult various groups on what they would like the council to do.

How they were to approach these groups, and what sort of entertainment was not known apparently, and they had to be pushed by three councillors (we have an elderly persons’ base here that seemed to have been not included) to make sure all groups were included .

They just wanted the £1,000 put aside. To be fair, Couns Keith and Florence Tomlinson and Pauline Allen were aghast and questioned this. Even one of their own team was struggling with this one.

It’s a good job these three independent councillors were there, to be honest.

And the final nail? The name of the Finance Committee was to be changed. When the above three councillors asked why, it was brushed off as nothing.

They were persistent in their questions to discover the new Finance Committee under its new advisory name would be held in camera. No members of the public will be allowed in to find out how they intend to spend your money. Alarm bells now need to be ringing in Nelson Town Hall.

All this as the stalled inquiry into the known irregularities at last May’s election is going to be revived at the next Pact meeting. Some of these people may be sitting in council seats they are not entitled to, and may have to answer some interesting questions. Many people are not happy that action has not already been taken.

MICHAEL SUTCLIFF

Kibble Grove, Brierfield