Comment: The inaugural meeting of the Interim Sutton Coldfield Parish Council
The Interim Sutton Coldfield Parish Council held its inaugural meeting at the Mere Green Community Centre yesterday, Tuesday 15th of March.
This was a big day for the Royal Town and there was a good turn out by the public to witness the historic event.
Starting promptly at 6pm the Interim Parish Councillors and officers spent around 1 hour and 40 minutes working through a packed agenda.
The aim was to clear the way for the full Parish Council after it is duly elected in May. To get some of the formalities and regulatory stuff concluded.
This included the recommendation that the Parish Council be renamed the Town Council, which was agreed.
I tweeted after the meeting that it was interesting. What I didn’t include in that 140 character social media space was that it wasn’t necessarily for all the right reasons.
It was unfortunate that, to an outsider such as myself, parts of the meeting appeared to be centred as much around petty point scoring and self promotion as clearing the ground for the full council.
Council officer Ifor Jones, Interim Town Clerk Nick Randle and Council Member Elizabeth Alison helped steer the ship, through the Chair, and keep it on course with their concise and informed comments.
There is little doubt that the steering group performed an excellent job in preparing for the creation of the Parish Council in such a short time. However, this interim period prior to the return of a full, duly elected council with a genuine mandate to carry out its tasks feels all a bit, well superfluous and somewhat a stage for anyone looking to stand in May.
Now, I’m not saying that some of the work isn’t important, it is, and it will certainly help make the early days of the full council easier – something anyone returned by the electorate in early Summer will appreciate. A problem I have, and which was evident from last nights meeting, is that there is an undercurrent of a lack of respect. That more team work and less posturing is required is clearly evident. Such a move would go a long way to creating a positive image of the council in these early days and remove the impression of a fragmented group that has yet to really see the bigger picture.
It’s not about everyone agreeing – different views are vital if Sutton Coldfield is to move forward under the new council – its about respect. A respect that comes from working together as democratically elected Parish / Town Councillors. That is what I hope for and look forward to seeing after May 5th regardless of who is returned.