A Bradley Stoke Town Councillor has branded the town’s Mayor “dictatorial” after he failed to invite other Councillors to a meeting with a senior official at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).
Mayor Ben Walker met alone with SGC’s Director of Children and Young People to find out why Bradley Stoke receives significantly less from SGC than other towns in the district for the provision of youth services.
[Ed: We have since been told that the Mayor met with SGC officers rather than the Director; see comment below.]
Liberal Democrat Cllr Jon Williams says he found out about the meeting by chance and feels he should have been invited to attend, as he claims it was he who first questioned why Bradley Stoke gets such a “raw deal” from SGC.
“I think it’s ridiculous that our Mayor is taking a dictatorial approach so early in his year of office. By excluding other elected councillors from an important meeting with the Director of Children and Young People to discuss the level of funding for youth work in the town without a good reason, he obviously thinks he’s special.”
“As a result of his undemocratic attitude I have had to ask for an identical meeting with the Director immediately after his. This is a waste of the Director’s time but I have no option if I want to understand the funding issues.”
According to Cllr Williams, figures supplied by SGC show that they spend £93k in Filton, £84k in Patchway and £73k in Stoke Gifford – compared to just £33k in Bradley Stoke (which has the largest youth population in the area).
Cllr Williams told The Journal he believes Conservative-run SGC is resisting any redistribution of youth funding prior to the May 2011 elections, to avoid being accused of cutting youth services in other towns.
Council to meet behind closed doors to discuss youth funding
Told of Cllr Williams’s comments, Cllr Walker provided the following statement:
“The meeting was set up at my own request so I could understand a little more of the history behind SGC’s funding of youth provision in the town. It was not an official Council meeting and no decisions were made.”
“I now have some ideas that I’d like to share with Full Council and these will be revealed on Wednesday (tonight, 6th October). The press and public have been excluded as some of the information is potentially sensitive but will be released once discussed by Full Council.”
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