Saturday, 29 March 2008

More on West Suffolk

A commenter on another local councillor's blog accuses me of promoting a West Suffolk unitary in isolation. But in my post I referred to an East as well as a West, and we all know what the permutations are for the rest of the county after a Western unitary has been defined, without my repeating the obvious. His own selection is simply stated but not argued.

The blogger then accuses Conservatives of protecting their position. By definition there are not enough vacancies for existing councillors in any Suffolk unitary set-up, but that applies equally regardless of the shape or number of new councils.

Or does he think that SEBC's plans for a Western unitary (which he actually claims to support) include retaining the current number of county and district seats? He and others will not have long to wait for the draft concept statement to appear.

Watch this space...


Mark G. Hardy said...

Touched a raw spot have I?

Your post about the proposal wemust wait and see demonstrates your and Stefan Oliver's consummate arrogance to say that we must wait and see what powers you (as a StEdsB or SCC councillor)have decided that we mere residents will be deigned to see devolved to Bury Town Council?

Paul. Life is changing for all of you and you need to wake up.

Party politics have no place in this debate.

Unitaries are coming to Suffolk because the Government has decided so, and if Labour get their way it will be Ipswich plus One, but like you I suspect (but can't prove in the absence of discussion and fact that Massey and you are trying to shut down before you send in your proposals) that a "West is Best" may be right - SO LONG AS BURY TOWN COUNCIL HAS CONTROL OVER EVERY RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWED IT BY LAW.

Have you ever told your constituents what powers BTC is allowed by law? Or do they have to wait for my blog on my return? A Parish poll would be most interesting on each of those powers don't you think?

Anyway, its Saturday night and I'm off for Moules Frites at the beach bar (in the pouring rain and a force 7 wind here in Northern Brittany!).

Paul F said...

Not at all, Mark. I was responding to 'Didav' not you.

Mark G. Hardy said...


The problem with your poll is that you have phrased the question in the manner of "have you stopped beating your wife".

I suggest it would be far more useful if you had told readers the powers that Town Councils can and should have.

I have created a pdf file of the list at the National Association of Local Councils.

Anyone can download it at:

Then perhaps we can start to enter into meaningful dialogue as to the timetable for transfer of powers and resource.

Paul F said...

I don't claim my polls are very scientific Mark, but I note you don't accept a result you don't like - interesting for one who sets so much store by democracy.

Paul F said...

David - Perhaps between reading my post and going elswhere to comment on it you forgot that you were only the 'commenter' I referred to and not the blogger himself. It was he who made the Conservative jibe.

My reference to lack of argument was to what you had stated on the blog, not in private to a number of SEBC members. You have since elaborated and I would certainly bow to your better knowledge on electoral/population statistics, though not necesssarily your arguments. Like me, you have had input to the concept statement.

BB - Your 30 year memory fails you. The last time two Conservative 'Muppets' (you have such a way with words) were elected in Abbeygate was 1987. In 1991 and 1995 a Conservative was defeated, and in 1999 and 2003 the Party only put up one candidate.

Not until 2007 were two Conservatives again elected, perhaps because they were such active Muppets?

And name any of my work as a Ward Councillor in Abbeygate that has been towing the party line. I can certainly cite ones where I have gone against it.

Mark - I don't contribute to blogs while the blogger revels in insulting me, but for the record, again, I was not referring to you.

I can hardly be accused of filtering your many comments; rather, readers might prefer if I did.

Please tell me which I did not publish, and (if it accords with my usual reasonable criteria)I shall rectify the matter.

Bury Boy said...

Nice to know you read Hoffys Blog, be careful not to plagiarise.

I never mentioned two conserative councillors, or abbeygate ward. But then context was never your best suit. As we never know when and how the local Tory hierachy apply the whip we will never know. It is a worry that certain local "party" members whom have never being elected have such influence.
Many locals can recall many whom have fallen foul of the "party" just spend time with Mike Ames, Brundle, or even ...... I genuinly dont know if your choice of causes has been luck, judgement, or a nod from above. Your party stock must be high to gain the abbeygate selection. One assumes you were asked to enter, and did not seek election on your own account, as you were not a current member. Do I recall you were part of the closure of the clock museum, the closure of Manor House, the folly called the cattlemarket, the failure in moving the Town centre toilets, the failure to consider shared space.....

Jim Henson's muppets, which one comes to mind.

Bear baiting is illegal is it not ?
that said what legal powers do the Town Council have as a "legal right"

Mark G. Hardy said...


As you well know, the comments I or anyone else post on your blog are subject to your approval before being publicly available - and until now I did not keep copies of what I posted - naive? Mea Culpa.

Anyway you have posted the link to the proper Town Council powers - thank you.

So - extracting one by one (bit like my daughter who worked in BStEds as a dentist for many years) - do you agree that the Clock collection and the Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds reserves behind it should revert to the Town Council? If not why not?

Paul F said...

BB - Sorry if I sseemed to take it personally. What was your context then - Tower division? Prior to 2005 most parts of that were Labour controlled, even the Abbeygate part.

Where do you get your membership 'information' from? I was a BSE Conservative county councillor for what is now called Hardwick in 1992, and I don't think that would have been without being a member.

My 'choice of causes' has been what I think best for Abbeygate folk, including going against the lines on Sunday parking charges and charging for public lavatories. But most of the work includes such things as helping individuals over their planning issues or advising residents about licensing matters - nothing to do with party politics.

Mark - Yes I do moderate comments, as others do where you comment, but only to avoid the extreme. I note you cannot remember my censoring yours.

As one so familiar with the law, perhaps you would like to explain the legal basis for your horological claim.

Mark G. Hardy said...

I'm surprised that you are not aware of the terms of the original bequest.

You may find references to it on the Bury Society site at

So let me ask again: do you think it should revert to the Town, or do you believe it should be lost in a new and bigger Unitary?

Paul F said...

I have a copy of the will, but do not intend to comment further here. I suggest you address any enquiries to SEBC's legal department.

Mark G. Hardy said...


What we are talking about is do you - as a Town Councillor - think that the Town should, in principle, ask for the return its pre-1974 assets that were transferred to the Borough before or as part of the Unitary process?

Can you let me see (not copy) your copy of the Will when I get back to save having to file a Freedom of Information Act request on the Town Council? That way my comments will hopefully be fully informed.

Taking my point to its logical conclusion, do you think that - if you are succesful in the West Suffolk Unitary bid - it too should ask for the return of assets that were transferred to Suffolk County Council by the old West Suffolk County Council as part of the Unitary process?

Given you are not a County Councillor, surely you can express your opinion on the last point without any conflict of interest arising?

Paul F said...

If by 'Town' you mean BSETC then why would it want to do so? If you are referring to the G-P bequest then I can see no practicable way in which the TC could take possession. Also why would it want to do so when the Borough have the facilities for display and curation?

Perhaps you should have furnished yourself with a copy of the will through the Bury Society or the usual channels (try: before you started pursuing me on this one.

Anyway, I think that all this talk of the passing on of assets as a result of LGR is somewhat premature. When the time comes I imagine local councillors will have no say in how assets are devolved. However, within what is legally appropriate and practical I would always take a view based on what I think is in the best interests of Abbeygate residents, but with due consideration for the Town as a whole and the Borough as a whole.

Perhaps you would like to email me any further points on this subject, so as not to lose too many of my readers through boredom.

Mark G. Hardy said...


The url link is a dead one I'm afraid.

I'm happy to wait until I get back to find a copy of the will.

Your comment about why would the Town want to take control is sooooo apposite.

I don't believe in private emails for discussions of matters that should be in the public domain.

You can't be serious when you say that StEds Borough has the facilities to display the collection - unless you are thinking it should grab back the original West Suffolk asset of Shire Hall and use that? What has happened so far? A few clocks on display in a small museum, the majority never to be seen.

The problem with matters like the Clock collection is that StEdsB has proved beyond all doubt that nobody in their right mind should leave any bequest to a Council - and that is a crying shame.

What has happened? Law changed; Council disbanded; Trust monies mixed up into the general "pot", building sold and nothing on display.

A damning indictment on all past and present councillors.

That is why the "Town" and not some bigger Unitary must seize the initiative and make certain the Clocks and their Trust fund are under the control of the Town of Bury St. Edmunds to which a very generous individual left them. Even I could draft a trust document in 20 minutes to provide BTC control and other independent Trustees - but I'm sure that any of the well respected law firms in Guildhall St would do a better job and for nothing.

Can't you really see the logic? I'm sure the Divisional Court will, if the Council don't, particularly given the past history of what happened to the trust monies.

Do understand that the clocks are but the most visible symptom of why Councils should never be given unfettered control of assets held in Trust and/or paid for by local taxpayers. What will happen to the Abbey Gardens unless "protected" under a Town Council Trust?

BTC absolutely must take control of, and responsibility for, all that makes Bury special.

Oh, and don't forget my underlying agenda of those to whom we devolve responsibility being elected under a fair electoral system i.e. STV

Paul F said...

Try cutting and pasting the url Mark: it does work but not automatically from comments.

I suggest you find out the facts about the G-P bequest before you make untrue allegations. It is all in the public domain. You could also contact the portfolio holder, although this would be easier from your UK residence.

As for the courts, others have pursued such matters long before you came on the scene and at a higher level - at not inconsiderable cost and no benefit to themselves.

How could anyone forget your agenda - or at least one of them?

Anonymous said...


Paul F said...

Anon - I couldn't agree more. At the time of writing he's stopped.

I try to ignore such comments but I do not like to censor, and I do not like the wrong facts uncorrected.