Town Council Meeting – 26th June 2019

June 27, 2019

Town Council Meeting
A Special Meeting had been called earlier on 21st May to make some quick decisions after the election. The most noticeable decision was to change the flag flying policy and allow the rainbow flag to fly over the County Hall. It was also resolved in committee to organise an Abingdon Pride event and set aside £1,000 for that purpose.

This evening’s Town Council meeting began with prayers.

Grant cheques were presented to a number of community groups.

I asked a question about cycling safety on roads and the town bus service and got a detailed reply from Cllr Sam Bowring, the new Town Council leader. These things are being considered and they have a cycling expert to help them.

The Abingdon Carbon Cutters did a presentation about their activities. The last Town Council meeting before the election had declared a climate emergency. That was not common knowledge so Carbon Cutters asked for more publicity.

The Carbon Cutters announced Abingdon’s move towards a plastic free town (I will do a separate blog on that soon).

Once the meeting proper began we found that most of the decisions had been taken in committees …

The Town Council is to undertake an appraisal of the Albert Park area to stop inappropriate developments.

The planning committee had no objection to the creation of  a kayak and canoe storage facility on Abingdon Lock Island. The district council will now decide.

The Amenity Committee agreed to do tree surveys and possibly cut down trees, and use more suitable trees, around the River Close play area . The trees are blocking out light to some houses despite repeated pruning and this has long been an issue.

Replace the notice boards in Bath Street, Roysse Court and Market Place.

Purchase three new replacement bus shelters.

Transfer some planters to Reynolds Way in the autumn for planting in winter spring etc.
Town Council Meeting
£1,000 will be allocated for Pest Control in the closed churchyard of St Helen’s Church.

The Communication Committee agreed to start publishing the Town Crier in the autumn, something the previous Conservative led council had not done. Then do a communications review.

To move the Information Centre to the ground floor reading room in the Roysse Court offices, and look further to try to find a better place.

The Finance Committee agreed to appoint a sub-committee to consider the future of the 41 town bus which comes up for renewal in October.
Town Council Meeting
These committee papers did not take long to discuss. There then followed a 35 minute debate about whether Town Councillors should wear robes at Town Council meetings and civic events. The new leader, Sam Bowring, said there was no policy and they needed to decide. There was one new councillor in particular who had almost decided not to stand for council when she heard she would have to wear a robe. All councillors agreed robes should be worn at civic events. 8 voted to keep the gowns at Full Town Council meetings, and 6 voted against. It was a passionate debate on both sides and did show that even though the council has now 18 Lib-Dems and 1 Green, they have many voices. The leading voice to keep the gowns came from a young, new councillor. He wanted to honour the tradition and heritage of the town. While a more established councillor described it as wearing fancy dress, and another as setting councillors apart.

Filed under: politics

14 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. ppjs  |  June 27, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Wearing gowns is, I suppose, an attempt to take the personal element out of debates by making the office the important thing.

    This is the sort of argument advanced for wigs and gowns in the courts of the UK. However, in the Supreme Court, nobody wears wigs and the only gowns/robes on display are worn by a couple of officials. The judges and counsel wear business suits/clothes. The only time robes are worn are at the swearing in of new Justices.

    If the Supreme Court can cope without gowns, the rest of us can surely dispense with them. “Tradition is not to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame.” [Gustav Mahler]

  • 2. Anne  |  June 27, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Reading your notes on what has already been decided by the new Town Councll or is shortly to be considered lifted my spirits. So many long-standing local matters – particularly affecting South Abingdon – are at last being dealt with. That is good news indeed!

  • 3. DavidofLuton  |  June 27, 2019 at 9:33 am

    The information centre has had more homes over the past couple of decades than Boris Johnson.

  • 4. David Surman  |  June 27, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Glad to see the hard copy Town Crier is coming back as a means of communication for all Also great news that the Town Council supported the establishment of the much needd canoe kayak store on the EA. The Vale now needs to follow suit and take notice of the 120 + expressions of support from the public on the application.

  • 5. Hedley  |  June 28, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    £1000 for a pride event !! Why??
    I have nothing against proud people but this is truly ridiculous. This money could be better spent.

  • 6. pjh64  |  June 29, 2019 at 7:15 am

    This is the advantage of a one-party setup. Peripheral debates about whether to spend or not can be dispensed with, and business can be rattled through since disagreements are semantic. It’s no surprise China is developing at an astonishing rate – let’s hope Abingdon can do the same.

    Interesting the young ‘uns wanted to keep the robes. All those role-playing fantasy computer games have their effects.

  • 7. Davor  |  June 29, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    £1,000 for Pride Day I understand. But £1,000 for pest control in St Helen’s churchyard? Why can’t the church pay for it’s own pest control?

  • 8. margaret salkeld  |  June 29, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I agree with Hedley…who was responsible for allowing ..£1000 _to be spent on Pride ..there a much more needy causes to spend our council tax ion.,disgraceful!

  • 9. ppjs  |  June 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Given the population of Abingdon (36000), £1000 comes to just under 3p per capita…. Not a lot really.

    If anybody wants their 2.777777777p back, I suggest that they talk to their Councillor and see what sort of reply they get.

  • 10. Hester  |  June 29, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I wonder how the cost compares with Bun Throwing and other civic celebrations/ commemorations?

  • 11. Patricia  |  June 29, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    If events like Pride get rid of bigoted attitudes and lead to equality for all, then the small grant allocated by the Council is well spent!

  • 12. Iain  |  June 29, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Well said Patricia

  • 13. the Lady  |  July 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    i think it best that £1000is better spent on the whole community not the chosen few

  • 14. DavidofLuton  |  July 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    the town council spends money on lots of things that do not benefit every single individual in the town. Sometimes that’s the way local government works.

    Perhaps your issue is not that £1000 was spent on the chosen few but rather the few that were chosen?

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