Our Borough Council should always be the servant of the Broxtowe people. Its primary duty is to act in the best interests of the community. Regrettably the present Conservative administration has forgotten this, having badly lost its way and made a series of lamentable decisions that will cost us all.
The failed austerity policies of the Tories in Westminster have been compounded at local level over recent years because Broxtowe has previously received the worst budget settlement for an authority of its kind. Having failed to secure a better deal from their Conservative allies running central government, the current Council leadership has resorted to desperate measures to make up this shortfall. Among the most notable has been the selling of Broxtowe Town Hall… at a knockdown price.
When the Tories stood in the previous Borough elections held four years ago, their manifesto made no mention of any plan to sell off the Town Hall. Yet 2018 saw them forcing through the disposal of this, a precious asset that has belonged to the community since it was built in the 1930s. The local Civic Society among others have highlighted the many grounds for concern that extend beyond the modest sum agreed for disposing of a vintage property in a prime location.
If the process overseeing the sale was less than satisfactory in the way it ignored normal guidelines, the authority now finds itself without a meeting place for elected representatives and needing to relocate vital IT equipment and other services from the building. According to the Council’s own estimates this move could cost as much as £533,550, a sum in excess of the £425,000 raised from the sale itself.
So many members of the public registered their opposition to losing our Town Hall in person that they could not fit in the public gallery of the Council Chamber when the Tories forced through their reckless measure. Speaking of the outcome, one local resident spoke for many in telling the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser:
“They are paying money to get rid of a community asset. It makes absolutely no sense. It’s like giving away a house, and then giving someone £100,000 extra for taking it off your hands. It’s bizarre. Why are they actually using money to get rid of an asset? It’s totally divorced from reality.”
If they had had any respect for doing what is right let alone democratic, Broxtowe’s Conservatives should have delayed the decision to sell off the Town Hall and presented their plan to the electorate in this election. That they didn’t is symptomatic of their running of the Council over the last four years. But there is something you can do about it this coming Thursday.