Scarecrow saga settled

IT is very rare that the town council resorts to the local press and prefers to resolve differences of opinion in private.

However, since I was referred to personally in last week’s letters page by Richard Jessop I feel I must put the record straight, not least because he is a fellow councillor.

The burden of his letter is that in discussing requests for financial help the council’s decision not to award a grant to the Scarecrow Festival was unfairly treated.

Indeed, his letter indicates that some residents have had a difficult time understanding the difference between the merits of the grant applications from the Chamber of Commerce to help with the Medieval Fayre and his scarecrow group to help with that event.

So let me explain. Quite simply, in presenting his case for supporting the Scarecrow Festival Richard Jessop made clear that, as last year, the event would make a profit which would then be given to a local charity. The publicity material for the event now confirms this.

The grant was not therefore required to ensure the success of the festival but would have increased the profit and the council could see no justification for using public funds for this purpose.

Richard Jessop fails to point out that this is quite different to the Medieval Fayre situation where all income is retained and used to help meet the cost of events in subsequent years.

Perhaps I should add that the council has already granted the charity concerned a street collection permit for this year and regularly considers grant applications from local charities for specific activities or projects.

I also wish to clarify that Richard Jessop’s assertion that I changed my mind when using my casting vote as chairman is wrong.

Together with six of my colleagues, my initial vote was against the proposal and I adhered to that in the casting vote.

One final point. Richard Jessop chose, in his letter, to refer to the debate about the funding of a community event and records that just one councillor was not in favour. Why did he not volunteer that he was the lone voice?

I hope that this explanation puts the matter to rest.

Cllr Richard Bye


Battle Town Council