It was a continuation of the meeting the previous evening, during which she was elected as mayor and Cllr Harry Worth was elected as deputy mayor.
The first motion, put forward by Cllr Mike Parkes and seconded by Cllr Matthew Stickley, was that the council should become a political council and adopt a government-based system. This created a backlash.
Cllr Graham said, “We have to accept a totalitarian idea. It is not democracy, it is near fascism.”
Cllr Terry Cordery asked, “What is the benefit to the town? Why not keep the status quo. I cannot understand why we are going this way.”
An amendment suggested by Cllr Graham not to have a cabinet position was rejected because it was a contrary position, not an amendment.
The motion was carried at which point a number of members of the public who were present shouted, “Damn disgraceful, shameful,” before they walked out.
Jim Bellamy, chair of Ferndown Residents Association said outside the meeting, “I personally think they want a closed shop and they will do nothing for Ferndown. They will be controlled from Dorset Council as a typical Tory run institution.”
Resident Gary Troman added, “All those who voted Independent – their votes may as well be thrown in the bin.”
Back at the meeting, Cllr Mike Parkes was elected leader of the council and Cllr Cathy Lugg as deputy leader. Motions were being pushed through including disbanding the old committees in favour of a cabinet-based system where portfolios would take on elements of the previous committees. There would not be an environment committee and it was quickly pointed out that this would be sending a bad message.
A motion that included paying councillors 20% of the price of a new device, it they used their own devices for council work, was voted through, despite Cllr Cordery attempting to get the 20% removed.
A further motion to increase allowances, and pay them quarterly was passed. Cllr Cordery said, “If we are serious about saving money, this is preposterous. A 50 per cent increase in allowances is greed and it’s wrong.”
An amendment was tabled to remove the quarterly payment and remove the review during the current year, but this failed.
Cllr Lugg asked for it to be minuted that she would not be taking any extra allowances.
A motion to revoke the exploration of the acquisition of land at Pompeys Lane because it was illogical for the council to maintain this piece of land was greeted unfavourably by some. Cllr Graham pointed out that it contained a historic badger sett and that only £250-£500 was needed to find out what could be done with the land. He said, “If you don’t like wildlife, you’ll vote for it. If you do [like wildlife] go against your party.” He proposed an amendment to keep Pompey’s land in until advice could be sought and a decision could be made afterwards. The amendment was lost. The motion was carried.
In the interests of saving public money, a motion to revoke the neighbourhood plan being carried out and to have a referendum at a later date was put forward. Councillors agreed to defer a decision until the next meeting.
When it came to a motion to revoke commitment to the Ecological Project in the interests of saving money, Cllr Graham defended the project saying the budget required was small, only £1,200, so that areas could be looked at with Dorset Council for the planting of wild flowers. It was also pointed out all the work completed on the Eco Project so far had been carried out voluntarily at no cost to the council, and that 30 bat boxes had been donated by the Woodland Trust. Cllr Graham said “We would like to keep this in as people are ecologically minded. We are members of Dorset Wildlife Trust as a council.” It was further pointed out that if the project was revoked, it would be sending out a really poor message. Cllr Mandy Willis said, “When protecting wildlife, we are protecting the human race.” The motion was rejected by one vote meaning the Ecological Project remains.
Minuted details of this meeting are available from the town council.
Ferndown Town Council is made up of 17 councillors (including one vacancy), 9 are Conservative.
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