Why bash out two blog posts when you can condense them into one?
If we’re lucky we’ll shoehorn a third story in here as well.
It’s all about Essex County Council devolution, innit.
Street lighting handed back down to the the Borough, Libraries devolved down to volunteers.
Eight years behind David Cameron’s failed Localism experiment and it seems that the Tory controlled (dominated) ECC is playing catch up.
Good News / Bad News etc.
Let’s start with the *possible* good news of Sunny Colch being lit up again in the waking hours.
ECC decided to TURN OFF Colchester back in 2013. It was claimed at the time that an annual saving of £1M per year would be made throughout the County.
This led to the current situation of no street lighting around the Borough between 1am – 5am.
After the initial outcry in the local rag, plus at least one fatality that The Chronic can recall, the situation seems to have calmed down.
But wait! What’s this?
ECC now seems prepared to light up the streets of Sunny Colch once again.
What has changed?
Making the decision at the top table in Chelmsford would be ECC Cabinet Member Cllr Kevin Bentley.
Cllr Bentley is one of the double dipping local Cllr’s who also picks up his allowance as a CBC Cllr.
Unlike his predecessor Cllr Rodney Bass at ECC, Cllr Bentley is batting for Colchester.
There has been no mention yet where the money will come from for the great TURN ON.
Back in 2015 CBC offered to fork out to foot the bill. Cllr Bass told CBC to do one.
But as we saw at Full Council a few weeks back – CBC is now officially at ‘breaking point.’
It will be interesting to see how a national Labour party Motion matches up with a decision to find some more money for local street lights.
But yeah – it’s a step in the right direction with devolution.
We’ll stick with the D word for the other side of the story.
The Bad News is that Prettygate Library looks like it is to be closed by ECC.
Ditto Stanway, Tiptree, Wivenhoe and West Mersea a couple of years down the line – unless any volunteers can step forward to save them.
It sounds an awful lot like *shhh* the bloody Big Society from that failed PM once again.
The politics are interesting here as well. They demonstrate how an ECC / CBC double dipper can feel a little compromised when the devolution argument ‘aint so great.
Tory Cllr Sue Lissimore is one of the CBC Cllr’s for the Prettygate ward. She also happens to be the ECC Cabinet Member for
Closing Libraries Culture and Communities.
And what of that fella Will Quince MP?
Wasn’t he once the ward Cllr for Prettygate before he found his Westminster feet?
It’s not a good look when your own party is going round closing libraries in your very own community.
Devolution, devolution, devolution etc.
…as Mr Tony once came very close to saying.
Devolution is also something that the ‘Progressive Alliance’ that is just about managing to hold together at the Town Hall is keen on promoting.
The rather odd LibLabIndie lot had ambitions for Transport for Colchester – a unitary model taking back control (stop it) of local transport.
Which brings us to part three of the blog post:
The Ipswich Road roundabout.
And who is the ECC Cabinet Member who has the pleasure of this in their portfolio?
OH HAI Cllr Bentley.