Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) has been accused of “unfairly politicising” a local Scout group in a dispute over signage at the Brook Way Activity Centre.
The centre currently sports a large sign advertising the 1st Bradley Stoke Scout Group, but a resident speaking at a BSTC Youth Committee meeting in October last year suggested that the current signage was misleading and should be replaced with one that clearly identifies the building as being available for use by the whole community.
The resident added that he believed this might encourage more people to consider hiring the building, which has seen a large drop in income since the council decided to establish a youth club there in 2009 – a venture which ended in failure less than two years later.
The suggestion was enthusiastically received by the council and nine days later, at the October Planning Committee meeting, its facilities manager presented plans to add an extra triangular sign above the Scouts’ existing one. However, when councillors came to make a decision at the November Planning Committee meeting, the plans had been altered such that the new town council sign would completely replace the Scout’s sign leaving the youth organisation with a much smaller sign to be mounted on the wall of the building, above the noticeboard.
Despite a decision being made in November, the matter came back to the December Planning Committee meeting, where it was revealed that the Scouts had written to the council expressing “unease and concern” about the decision to remove their large sign and expressing concern that they were being “unfairly politicised”.
Councillors agreed to defer a final decision to the January Planning Committee meeting, on Wednesday 22nd January, which representatives from the Scout Group have been invited to attend in order to “discuss their concerns”.
Last year, the Scout group failed to gain the wholehearted support of the town council for a plan, put together by one of its Beaver Scout leaders and Cllr Ben Walker, to convert the granite pillars in the town square at the Willow Brook Centre into a war memorial.
Cllr Walker, who is a member of the Scout group’s Executive Committee, served as the town’s Mayor for two years between 2010 and 2012, but has seen his influence within the town council wane since he defected from the ruling Conservatives to UKIP in May 2012.
Image: Artist’s impression of the proposed new signage, showing the large Scouts’ sign replaced by a town council sign and a much smaller Scouts’ sign on the wall to the right.
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- Petty party politics return to town council at AGM - June 25th, 2019
- Meet the new mayor: Councillor Tom Aditya - June 16th, 2019
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