Battle councillor wants views from Watch Oak residents

Battle Town Council
Battle Town Council

From: Bernard Brown, Netherfield Road, Battle

I was elected to Battle Town Council in April. Well not really.

In Watch Oak Ward there were six vacancies and six candidates so nobody actually voted for me. Actually nobody voted for any of the councillors – 13 vacancies, 13 candidates equals an uncontested election. As a result from this none of the electorate know what I believe in or what I would like the council to do and I do not have a mandate to do anything as a councillor. Neither do the 12 other councillors. So I wrote out to all the electors in Watch Oak Ward. Very carefully I made it clear this was a personal Nnewsletter, not a council letter, and I invited people to get in touch with me, specifically asking them to give me a mandate to ensure the council does not carry on spending and increasing the Council Tax without properly consulting the people.

The draft minutes of the Council Meeting of August 20 demonstrates what some councillors thought of this novelly democratic idea. I will not recite them here. You can see them on the Battle Town Council website. It is the item passing a motion that prohibits a councillor contacting the electorate without approval. I am not to be permitted to write to anyone without it being “reviewed” by the Town Clerk.

Someone commented to me the Kremlin would be proud of that.

But I believe it is just a misguided, if stupid and censorious, attempt to make sure councillors only speak with one voice, that of the council. Loyalty to fellow councillor being placed above duty to the electorate.

So next Monday, 16 September, any resident of Watch Oak Ward can come to the Wynn Room at the Memorial Hall for 7.30pm where they can meet me and ask me anything about my views on the past, present and future operation of the Town Council. I am not setting an agenda. So if you live in Watch Oak Ward and have views or questions about Council Tax, the Almonry, the proposals for the Recreation Ground, allotments, anything which is within the scope of Battle Town Council come and join in the discussion. I can then go about my duties as a councillor knowing what at least some of the electorate of my ward want.

I won’t be going into the council meetings with my favoured schemes and claim they are what the people of Battle want when I haven’t asked them.

I hope to see you on Monday 16 at the Memorial Halls. It is your town, your future. I am asking you for your opinions.