Bovey Tracey councillors disappoint

Bovey Tracey Players have used a performing space in the Bovey Tracey Town Hall for many years. However, the performing space is under threat as the Town Council has put the hall up for sale without any alternative provision to continue with the ability to put on performances. A sad state of affairs.

Bovey Tracey Town Hall is up for sale threatening the future of a performaning space in the town. The councillors  however seem reluctant to engage with the community  and more concerned about how I got their email addresses rather than answering my email. Disappointing

So I decided to write to some of our town councillors to see what their position on the sale was. Apart from one councillor, the rest were disinterested and seemed more concerned about how I found their email addresses than answering the points and concerns raised. Phone numbers are listed on the town council website http://www.boveytracey.gov.uk/serving-councillors.php but no email address which, in this day and age gives the impression they are trying to hide. So below is the email I sent and the responses I received so you can make up your own mind on how they are performing as councillors.

My email ……

Dear xxx

I am writing to you in your position as a town councillor with regard to the proposed sale of the Town Hall and hope you can alleviate my fears and let me know your views on its sale?

My concern is that the sale  of the Town Hall will remove the only performing space in the area which I think will be a sad loss of a community asset. It appears that the proposed new new town hall will provide a meeting room and councillor facilities, and apart from a library, no further facilities for the community? That doesn’t seem to support performing arts in Bovey?

I know that one reason for the proposed sale is that ‘it’s under used’. Frankly I am not surprised as I had no idea it was available for hire or how to hire it. Searching the council website gives no mention of it as a community asset available for use, and indeed a search of the Internet brings the same result. I understand it has been mentioned in the Quality Update newsletter but the only mention I found in the Feb edition was it was lost in a sea of text which, with human nature being what it is, was probably not read by the majority. So if it’s not marketed it’s no wonder it’s not used.

It needs refurbishment that’s true but I think having somebody who takes on the role to market it would help to get it used as much as it should be. Having previously lived in a village with a village hall that was in constant use, I don’t see why Bovey being somewhat larger should not be able to use the hall a lot more than it is currently. With the lights and PA apart from the use by the Players, there is no reason why it could not be used as a music and performing venue as well as exhibitions, film nights and private parties. More use of the hall would bring people into the town, which, sadly, appears to be dieing and in desperate need of visitors.

So please, do not sell the hall until further work has been done with interested community groups to look at how it can be used more frequently. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Please encourage your fellow councillors not to sell the hall and support a proper community study into how it can be used.

Thanks and kind regards

Alan Pewsey

So. Polite I hope you agree and opening the door to dialogue…. Well not really no. I sent it to the following councillors on the 26th June and the responses I got are below

Anna Kinkenburg -Response received on the 7th July, 11 days after my email and 1 day after I emailed again expressing my disappointment that no acknowledgement or response had been received.

This email address is my private email address for my family and friends.
Your email is not private but Council/Councillor related; I will respond to any email sent to my Cllr email address which is anna.klinkenberg@teignbridge.gov.uk, perhaps you will kindly let me know how and where you got my private email details from.

17th July – No further response as yet, despite my following up her email to her council address,  so another chasing email sent today. So it appears she doesn’t respond to emails unless pushed.  This backs up a previous experience to the only other email I sent to her Teignbridge address on the 15th August 2013 I’m still waiting for a reply for that one too!

UPDATE – I did get a response from Anna on the 20th July, almost a month after my original email.

Thank you for your emails and apologise I haven’t got back to you sooner.

I have had a few days way and prior to that my old council email address had been discontinued internally at TDC and nothing had been forwarded to my current one, consequently they had to set up another internal address to enable me to access my mail.

In answer to your question, I will make up my mind when we have had the debate at the Bovey Tracey TC meeting. I have noted your comments and they will be taken into consideration when making my decision.

Again I apologise if I hadn’t responded to any email sent to me, I do not know what had happened to it.

Steven Leigh – Response received on the 7th July, 11 days after my email and 1 day after I emailed again expressing my disappointment that no acknowledgement or response had been received.

This is my work email address. Can I ask that you do not use it again, because we have rules here about personal email use. I will forward it to my home email and reply to you in due course.

17th July – No further response as yet so another chasing email sent. Mind you to be fair, ‘in due course’ could mean years if my experience of Anna’s lack of replies is anything to go by.

Robert Ashby – Robert actually replied on the 1st July following my 26th June email without me having to ‘remind’ him. Well done Robert. Although there seems to be some fence sitting going on. What do you think?

Thank you for your recent email which I have read with interest.  I have also considered your thoughts and those of others who have communicated in a similar vein and will have these in mind when discussing the way forward with other Councillors.

Avril Kerswell – Same as Anna and Steven. No response until my ‘reminder’ on the 6th July.

Thank you for your emails whichI have read with interest and will certainly give great thought to your proposals and ideas.

Polite I think you’ll agree but a bit of a standard fob off response meaning she’s deleted the message and her ‘great thoughts’ won’t go much further. Prove me wrong Avril.

Tony Allen – Now Tony is currently the Deputy Mayor and also writes a regular column in town newsletter a so I expected great things from him as clearly he likes to communicate with the community. And he did, he replied on the 30th June with no prompting. Top marks so far.

Thank you for your email with your views about the future of the Town Hall.
The council is seeking a solution for the Town Hall that will give best value to the town, so it will be interesting to see what the bids we receive have to offer.
I’m sure the council will be giving an update on the situation once these have been received, and all options are considered.

OK, polite but no attempt to engage in dialogue. Standard fob off response written all over it. Disappointing Tony sorry.

Tina Richardson – Tina like Tony responded on the 30th June so well done Tina.

Thank you for your e-mail. Please note that I have noted the contents.

Fail!

The only councillor who took the time to engage with my email was Chris Robillard. Chris is freshly elected and he is the only councillor from the 7 out of 12 I contacted who gave me any hope that he is representing his community and  doesn’t see us as irritants.   I don’t know him and, as far as I know I’ve never met him, but thanks Chris for doing what you were elected to do.

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34 responses to “Bovey Tracey councillors disappoint

  1. Thanks for this Alan
    I have shared!

  2. Yes, this is really good, Alan. I just think it’s extremely useful the way you’ve set down the various responses, the way follow-up emails have been ignored etc. For people who’ve not been involved it should be very instructive in terms of this Council’s approach to communication! Can I suggest you follow-up if there is any more to say? Thanks.

  3. Ann Hobson-Kelly

    Well, one in particular never disappoints me except when having to spend several evenings a week and hours during the day due to being a Councillor. Try doing it yourself before being critical of work carried out by people wanting to help the community. Or do you think that this is an ego trip!! Really?

    • Thanks for the comment Ann and I am very pleased to hear that your experience is a positive one. You’re right taking on the role of a councillor is a commitment not to be under estimated, and one that I certainly wouldn’t be able to devote the time too. They are elected however to represent the community they serve and a large part of that job is engagement with the community who elected them. If they don’t wish to do that then perhaps the role isn’t for them? I don’t think I’ve said any are on an ego trip, I’ve just shared my experience of contacting a 7 of the 12 in Bovey, and how 6 of those haven’t really engaged with my initial points. One however has and fair play to him. I shall let people decide as to whether the responses I’ve been given are acceptable or not.

    • Ann Hobson-Kelly,
      Said

      “Well, one in particular never disappoints me except when having to spend several evenings a week and hours during the day due to being a Councillor. Try doing it yourself before being critical of work carried out by people wanting to help the community. Or do you think that this is an ego trip!! Really?”

      My response

      Whilst I do respect the work put in by councillors, I would like to raise some points.

      1. In a democracy we have a right to voice our opinions, and be critical of those elected to serve us.

      2. Whilst I know that on town council level those who put them selves forward usually have a genuine desire to serve the community, they elect to put themselves within the public arena, they are not forced into it.

      3. If the role is to demanding, taking up to much free time, to the best of my knowledge councillors are free to stand down.

      Now with that said, I think Alan might have been better to have sent a mail to info@boveytracey.gov.uk with a FAO. for all council members.

      Town Mayor Uli Arnold

      Deputy Town Mayor Tony Allen

      Anna Klinkenberg

      Avril Kerswell

      Christopher Robillard

      Tina Richardson

      David Elphick

      George Gribble

      Eoghan Kelly

      Robert Ashby

      Janet Blair

      Mark Tregoning

      Steven Leigh

      I think using personal E-mail addresses or work E-mail addresses as in this case might be considered incorrect communication protocol.

      I do however agree that all councillors should have a public inbox

      ie. Jo-smith@teinbridge.gov.uk

      And these E-mail addresses should be available from the outset under the communication section of the local councils website, and available through public bulletin.

      • Hi. Thanks for your comments and you make some good points.

        Just to let you know I did send an email to the info@ email address and had a good debate with the Town Clerk and I have a lot of respect for him. I also thought I would email councillors too as I am passionate about keeping. performing space in the town and wanted to engage in debate with them and understand their views and why they are in favour of this facility being lost. I think, if used properly, a performing space could encourage more people into the town and hence mean added support to surrounding businesses. Walking through town on a Saturday afternoon and seeing how quiet it is, I think they need all the help they can get!

        I was given those email addresses and out of the 7 only 2 have said they weren’t for public use. I respected their wishes and have since contacted them using their public addresses. Although, as yet, no response or acknowledgement. Unfortunately they have chosen to focus on email addresses rather than responding to my comments. A councillor I didn’t contact also chose to concentrate on this in his comments to this post rather than taking the opportunity to comment on the issue concerned. Although he does come across as being a passionate and keen to serve his community which is a good thing.

        I agree, if they are concerned about which email address is used, then an easy way to stop this is, as you suggest, setup public in boxes and display them in the Town Council website. A great idea to improve communication.

        I would like the community to make an application for a Community Asset Transfer. It would be great if the council would help in moving this forward rather than selling the asset and losing it forever.

        Cheers.

        Al

  4. There are 14 Councillors not 12. You never emailed me about this. Your statement is just that – a statement of your views. You ask no questions – just list your personal views and nothing more.

    As councilors we do listen people’s views – we were democratically elected to do just this. Your inference that we don’t is unwarranted and unjustified. I don’t recall you coming to any council meeting to air your views but you choose the ‘safety’ of Facebook to list your opinions.

    The question asked by those you emailed is perfectly valid – how did you acquire personal – I emphasise this – personal email addresses of councillors – and why have you seen fit to share these email addresses with other people? As you feel you can whinge about responses maybe you can at least answer what is a very valid question

    • Hi Eoghan. Thanks for your comments. You are right I didn’t email you about this as I didn’t have an email address for you. Please forward and I’ll make sure I will next time. It sounds like you are a lot more proactive in our community and take your role very seriously which is great news. Thanks for also pointing out we have 14 councillors, my mistake.

      I am glad to hear you do listen to people’s views, and it would be great to hear your views on the situation of the town hall and the loss of performing space. So, some questions for you. Are you in favour of selling this community asset meaning it’s loss forever? Are you in favour of removing Bovey’s only real performing space? Would you be in favour of postponing the sale so that a review can be taken and consultation with the various groups who have expressed an interest in maintaining the asset?

      Just a point of accuracy in your comment. This site is a WordPress site and an open forum so I didn’t choose the ‘safety’ of Facebook to list my opinions. I would have preferred not to have felt the need to share in an open forum but my frustration got the better of me. This frustration I’ve since found out is also shared by a lot of other people in the town.

      Regarding personal email addresses I was given them and used them in good faith not realising I wasn’t allowed to use them. Only 2 out of the 7 I emailed said they were personal and I respected their wishes and used the public ones that they forwarded instead. I am also happy to answer your question ‘why I shared these email addresses’. The answer is i need to correct you as I haven’t.

      I’m sorry you consider my post as whinging as that was not my intention. I am just very very frustrated with the situation and will be desperately sad if the performing space is lost for ever. I’ve invited people to make up their own minds about my email and the responses I got.

      So let me ask you some direct questions as a Bovey Tracey Councillor who seems to be passionate about your role and keen to represent your community, qualities that you should be complimented on. I understand the community can make an application for a Community Asset Transfer. What is involved with this? Could this be a way forward for the town Hall? Has this already been considered? If not, why not? If yes then what was the conclusion?

      Thanks for commenting and engaging in the debate. That was all I wanted to see. A debate.

      Kind regards

      Alan

      • Eoghan Kelly

        Hi Alan

        This is an incomplete reply so if I miss anything off then please let me know.

        yes I believe selling the Town Hall is a good option. The Players – and let’s be clear about this – the Players are the only people complaining about this – apart from one other person who has a commercial interest (which he is conspicuously quiet about) in this – have a plethora of choices as to venues. The Edgemoor have offered an open air venue for summer shoes and the Baptist Hall have offered a bigger and acoustically better venue. We have been repeatedly challenged by the Residents Association about what we are doing with the Town Hall – this body is not exactly representative but are significantly more so than the Players. We have very clear ideas to prevent the site from being boarded up – this was set out out in the T&C’s for the sale. The Players have actually had 2 years to prep for this but have not done anything positive or pre-emptive until it went on the market in May – which inficates a lot in my view.

        A community asset transfer – I think you either need to look this up – or are you really suggesting we gift the Town Hall to the players? Because this is what you are talking about. A Community Asset Listing is entirely a different creature – but we explained this to the Players TWO years ago and yet nothing has been learnt.

        I believe it’s right to sell within the parameters that we set – best for the town, best for the businesses and best for the people. Show me how a vague plan that thinks 4 plays a year can help save the high street and I will listen

      • Hi Eoghan.

        These are the first views that I have heard from a councillor on the situation, and for that I thank you.

        You are right, I know very little about an asset transfer or listing, how viable they are, or what they would actually do ultimately. I’m to be honest, clutching at straws regarding options as the death of the town hall as a community asset has only just hit me and I just want to make sure all options have been thoroughly examined before the hall is lost. Hence the email to your colleagues although I clearly should have approached you.

        I also wasn’t aware of the Edgemoor and Baptist Halls offering alternative venues. I can see problems with each of those regarding feasibility and cost of installing lighting and sound equipment, especially an outdoor venue, as well as logistics. The Baptist Hall, is that the hall where the voting was cast in May this year? If so the main issue with it is height again for the purpose lighting. However I suppose the Players are spoilt at the moment having a hall that offers a lot of advantages regarding a theatre space and tiered seating. If the will of the community is to turn this over to a commercial operation of some description, then, a second best alternative would be the only option remaining.

        I guess that one of the key reasons that the hall has been put up for sale is its lack of use. You rightly point out, having a venue that is only used 2-3 times a year is difficult to justify, however, a search on the Internet, including the Town Council website revealed no mention of the town hall as a venue available to hire. I have also asked friends in the town whether they realised the town hall was available to hire by organisations, or individuals as party venues, and nobody, as yet, has said they were. Clearly if nobody, or probably more accurately, very few, know it’s for hire, it isn’t going to get used. In a previous village I lived in Devon, I was part of the committee who ran its hall. All volunteers who managed the asset on behalf of the community. This meant we used the charges received for hiring the hall for its maintenance and improvement, along with fundraising. We also actively marketed it in the monthly village news and also online. You can see the hall website here http://www.woodburyvillagehall.org.uk/ Also if you google “Woodbury village hall” you can see it appears in the search results as a venue. Is this method of running and advertising one that you think could be explored with the town hall? The Woodbury Village Hall is in almost constant use as the Calendar section on the website shows. BT is a lot bigger than Woodbury, so if Woodbury can maintain a hall surely this could be a option moving forward? This hopefully will explain why I have raised the hall issue with councillors – or tried too.

        Moving away from the town hall for the moment, visiting the town on a Saturday afternoon does give the impression that the town is on a decline. Especially when you compare it with Ashburton which seems to be thriving. Are there any lessons regarding management of the town centre that can be learnt from Ashburton or other towns? This could be because half of the businesses are closed. However, if they are not getting foot fall through their doors, then you can’t blame them for closing. It’s bit of a viscous circle and what the answer is I have no idea other than the businesses, the town and council need to work together on trying to find a solution – I’m sure you are already. Perhaps again more active marketing at the fire stn roundabout to entice the thousands who pass on their way to/from Dartmoor to visit? Perhaps the strategy of the town should be to offer more reasons to stop off on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. If they know they can come into Bovey for tea, coffee, services exhibitions and special events that might help? The French (was it?) market that visited a few years ago? Beefing up (no pun intended) the existing farmers market, perhaps making it a monthly event instead of 2 weekly and making it bigger would help? The band that played outside the Cromwell in 2012, or more performances in the hall not just the Players, more of that would be good. There are lots of touring musical and theatre groups out there, they just don’t visit Bovey very often. I’m sure with the right people who have more experience of these things than I could come up with some solutions to encourage visitors.

        From your initial comments and those of others on this post, it’s clear that their is no love lost between the council and the Players, with each feeling that the other hasn’t listened. I can relate to that as the responses to my email also gave me that impression, rightly or wrongly. I can’t change what has gone on before but perhaps a truce should be offered and an open meeting set up to give an opportunity for the community and council to listen to each other with open minds as to the hall’s future. Maybe people under estimated the prospect of the hall being sold, until the last minute? I am guilty of this, and also guilty of not attending any council meetings to listen to the debate and contribute. Perhaps now that the realisation has hit many people, an 11th hour review so that both sides of the debate can listen and collaborate would perhaps be an option? Then, whatever happens following that, people will understand the decision although some may not like it, but can at least accept it.

        It is probably frustrating from your position where you are actively involved with what is going on and you feel apathy reigns in the community. I volunteer for a charity in my spare time and I can totally relate to the initial comments of the time spent all hours of day or night on, in your case, council matters. I spend around about 8-12 hours a week (although this week has been nearer 20) on my volunteer role on top of my full time job. It frustrates me no end when I need volunteers from the charity to assist in events that it’s always the same few who put their hand up with the vast majority sitting back. Although they have very good reasons I’m sure as to why they can’t, it’s just that as I devote so much time to it, I expect the same from others, perhaps unrealistically. So I can feel your pain. I may not have the time to devote to another good cause but I am very happy to contribute where time and family commitments allow. Hence email works for me.

        I hope my comments are seen to be constructive and perhaps at least do open the door slightly to consideration of all options before a decision is taken. Perhaps a meeting advertised via the newly formed Residents AssocIation would be a way forward to share and educate on the options for the hall just to make sure all bases are covered and also make sure that people feel they have been listened to seriously.

        Thanks for your comments and thanks for clearly taking your role seriously. I may not agree with some of your views but I do appreciate that you have put your hand up to take the role on.

        Thanks

        Alan

      • I went to a council meeting two years ago as Chairman of the Bovey Tracey Players and asked the question in person ” what is the future for the Rown Hall? ” the answer from all who were there was absolute silence not a single word was spoken from any councillor s there … To say the Players knew two years ago about the sale is not correct . Mr Kelly please withdraw this statement.

      • Eoghan Kelly

        Also – regarding email addresses – I received the same email – word for word from three people – I asked all three how they had my personal address none would answer. The common root is either yourself or Ian Welland – regardless one of you has acquired and disseminated personal info without the right to do so

      • Hi Eoghan.

        That’s interesting as I wasn’t aware my email had been sent by others. I shared the content of the email with one other person who clearly has shared it with others. I can also categorically state that although I shared the email I did not share any addresses. I assume therefore that they obtained email addresses from the same source I did.

      • “Eoghan Kelly” Wrote.

        “Also – regarding email addresses – I received the same email – word for word from three people – I asked all three how they had my personal address none would answer. The common root is either yourself or Ian Welland – regardless one of you has acquired and disseminated personal info without the right to do so”

        Whilst I do not think using personal or none council related E-mail addresses for correspondence is following preferred communication protocol.

        As the name suggests it is an address, it is not ex-directory it is not anonymous, and unless you elected to fill in “bogus” details for a E-mail address provided by a commercial public network then from any packet of stored information on yourself I can legally trace your street address, your personal mobile number, your home phone number etc.

        Whilst it might feel unethical, if you signed up for your E-mail address using a commercial network or ISP and you did not read the Privacy Policy..

        Ok in this instance I doubt there has been any data referencing, however as the law stands there is nothing stopping people from sharing your E-mail Addresses.

        I wander how many counsellors are on facebook… even under a psudo..?

        Through that network, hrm you actually make a point of often giving more information than you leek in the pub.

        Just saying, be careful with where you share your personal information, and your public profiles including mailing addresses, that is if you want to keep a degree of communication anonymity.

        this really should have been explained to your regional government from Central government and relayed to yourselves at a local level, but then to be fair most of uk government departments are still using windows XP.

        I could rant for hours.

  5. Thank you for sharing this – interesting reading. Do hope you get some more engagement with your reasonable points. I will be sharing via facebook too.

    • Thanks for your comment Amber. I am just trying to encourage debate and encourage people to contact the councillors with their views for or against. Although be careful as to what email addresses you use!

  6. Hi Alan Dc here
    Please give me a ring … We do have plans at town hall for all group….
    Which would welcome your enthusiasm
    D 😀

    • Also I would like to find out how a vote of no confidence in our local area would work … I’ll do some research…I think you may have identified a local council training need… Or as we locals call it … Balls… Come on Bovey council grow some !!!!!!!!!!!!! Or go!

      • Eoghan Kelly

        I think your comment is unhelpful – and by unhelpful I mean – in your words – balls. The Town Council have been elected to do the best for the town. We, collectively, received a vote of confidence on May 7th 2015, so to do ‘some research’ is not constructive in any way. Neither you, nor anyone else involved in ‘Town Hall 4 All’ put forward a candidate then – so how serious are you about what you believe is the best for Bovey?

  7. It’s great to see someone taking the time to draft a letter outlining concerns about the direction of town planning and the future of the town hall. I feel like there is a lot of apathy in Bovey (myself included) and it’s great to see a bit of fight. I’m quite shocked and appalled at the hostile and unprofessional tone of some of the councillors’ responses to your politely worded letter. Yes, it might have felt intrusive to receive council related emails in a personal inbox, but move on! You apologised for this, and, frankly, it seems that this was the only way to get a response from some of the councillors. Reading the responses you’ve received has given me the kick I needed to become more active in the town, so thank you!

    • Thanks for the comment Carol.

      Yes I must admit that the ‘How did I contact’ rather than ‘why did I contact’ comments did, rightly or wrongly, give me a very negative first impression on my first real contact with councillors.

      There are always 2 sides to every debate and I had up to then only heard one side which was that of suspicion due to what people felt was limited communication. People always get suspicious when communication is lacking as they start to fill in the gaps with their own conspiracy theories. So, I wanted to make up my own mind by giving councillors the opportunity to share their views directly. Unfortunately, the lack of any real engagement frustrated me into publishing to a wider audience!

      Looking back at my communication with the councillors concerned I have found it to be intimidating at times, dismissive and hasn’t really given me any confidence that any of my concerns or points will be considered or taken seriously and has given me the view of ‘why bother’. I hope they prove me wrong.

      I think they need to look at how they communicate with the community and be more proactive at encouraging engagement. They probably feel they do this already by offering their phone numbers on the town council website. In this day and age though, I think they need to open up other channels to address this feeling of suspicion. You can’t please everybody I know but if I was on the council, I would be concerned at the perception in some areas of our community and be proactive. Especially if they have any intention of engaging with the younger generation in the town, after all, anybody over 18 could have voted for them.

      The good news is, according to the Town Clerk who is very approachable I must say, that apparently they recognise that the website needs updating, and they are also looking at reopening the Twitterfeed that disappeared off their website a week or so ago as it hadn’t been updated since 2014. So that’s a start anyway although my question regarding publishing email addresses was dismissed. Lets hope they look at opening more communication channels and pushing information out to the town rather than putting it on a website and expecting it to be found. I also hope that they look at how communication to the councillors themselves can be improved.

      In the meantime, the Town Hall debate goes on. To be honest, I think they have made their decisions already so I am not holding out much hope. They will be judged on the decisions they make not just by us but future generations. I would be personally be very nervous by that and I would want to make sure any decision has the backing of the majority before action. After all, we live in a democracy.

      Our town is slowly going into decline. I don’t know what the answer is but they need to engage more to help them with ideas and make it easy for people to contribute to overcome the apathy we are all guilty of. Dare I say it a Town Council Facebook feed might not be such a bad idea.

      Good luck with your own efforts.

  8. Thanks again for your words Alan … Communication is the way forward and some councillors seem to be reactive rather than pro active in this . I would suggest taking a stall at the Bovey Market and have 3 elected members sit there and talk to people, asking questions and engaging with the good folk of Bovey and listen… Just listen… What is good for Bovey may look different from over the fence … They just need to find the gate.

  9. This post is full of links so click on something….
    “So what are the lessons for localism of Independents for Frome? The most obvious is that many more people will vote and get involved in local politics if they believe they can make a difference. The second is that all tiers of local government have to change their mindset if they are to make the verbiage of localism a reality.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2012/aug/03/richard-vize-local-government-independents-for-frome

    http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2014/may/13/how-to-take-control-of-the-town-council

    A bit of background.

    Frome made the leap from a run-down destination to a Arts/craft//commercial destination next to Bath (Big tourist draw). The council did this with move that could be very prescient for Bovey. The run down shops on Catherine Hill were let at reduced rate to artist/ entrepreneurs who over ten years have built a thriving business model.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/13/frome-share-shop-social-enterprise

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/22/flatpack-democracy-peoples-republic-of-frome

    Sorry if this seems a bit Guardianista but it seems it’s the only place this stuff gets published…
    Oh and this is how they communicate, http://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk it’s a WordPress site so there is more than one editor and the public can communicate with the council, once set up it is easy to keep, as I’m sure you know 😉

  10. I think the councillors feel very safe in holding onto their positions, to the point where they don’t feel like they need to listen to the voices of the community. Bovey Tracey is divided between old timers/longtime locals (who make up the majority of the council) and incomers. I think the trouble is that the latter group, who represent the younger members of the community and many of the families with young children here, don’t take an active role in the community either because they don’t feel it’s their place; because they feel put off by the negativity of the current councillors or because of general apathy. The real key is to get some fresh, progressive, voices on the council. Until that happens, I fear we’ll be dealing with the same old us vs. them, defensive, unproductive attitudes that have been the norm here for many years.

    Although Bovey is much smaller than Frome, I think the general direction of that town is great and we could certainly think about modifying some of their ideas to work here. The Share Shop is a fantastic idea because it brings people into town twice–once to borrow and once to return. Frome’s WordPress site also looks fantastic and gives a lively, open, dynamic impression of the town. That would be something that Bovey could replicate with a small investment.

  11. TONIGHT ! (Monday 10th August) The Town Council have called an Extraordinary Meeting tonight to listen to all views regarding the future of our Town Hall. I’m sure you’ve all heard rumours and opinions on the prospective sale of this historical building. Currently underused and with crippling maintenance and repair costs for the foreseeable future, the town hall is in danger of falling into disrepair. NOBODY WANTS THIS TO HAPPEN. With all efforts being made to regenerate the town, it’s absolutely vital that a solution is found that is financially viable and will enhance Bovey Tracey. If we are to continue to draw visitors (and their much needed money) to our beautiful town, we need to offer them more than the view of a run down building. We all need to know what the options are. We all need to be part of this important decision. Want to know what’s happening to our Town Hall? PLEASE, come along this evening. Listen. Ask questions. Form an opinion. Bring friends. Whatever your view, make it heard.

  12. Thanks What time does it start? It’s OK. Found out its 7pm

    • With reference to an earlier posting I made referring to a member of Town Hall 4 All having a commercial interest in the Town Hall. I have spoken to the person concerned and I acknowledge I was factually incorrect on this statement. I unreservedly apologise to the person concerned and withdraw my comments about them.

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