It is becoming increasingly likely that local people will wake up one day to discover that the Registry Office (for births, marriages and deaths) has been re-located at the Town Hall .
To those who keep up with local news, and who thought this office was moving to the library in Claremont, the Town Hall may present a far more appropriate site for a number of reasons.
However, this move has now sparked an ‘incredible turn of events’ on which it seems, local people will not be able to voice any concerns they may have, as things stand a present.
In order to accommodate the requirements of the Registry Office, a major re-location of the council’s democratic and civic functions is needed, these include a new council chamber, mayor’s parlour, committee rooms and ‘other facilities’, all to be created in Aquila House.
Yes you are right, in the same building as the previously up-rooted Information Centre, re-located from the Town Hall amid considerable amazement and concern !
How many local people – council tax payers – who will be bank-rolling this very considerable expense, will have the chance to question the long term benefit of such a major refurbishment which is being carried out in a building not even in the council’s ownership ?
Has anyone raised concern that such a costly investment (£200,000 quoted) could present problems in years to come if problems arose with continued occupation of the building ?
At the very least, and because there are matters around this whole issue which invoke questions needing answers in addition to justifying the whole project – what will happen to the ‘heritage memorabilia’ including portraits, paintings, Book of Remembrance, identified historical events etc?
All properly housed in our Town Hall at present, but hardly suitable for a Registry Office.
Should we not seek more information on what is being proposed ?
Yet we are told that local people cannot be consulted.
The report to the council says: “The urgency of the programme and need for rapid decision making will not allow for public consultation on this issue.”
How undemocratic is this? Can we really afford to let this significant proposal slip through without further justification ?
Do we not elect people to do this, and to subsequently answer to us?
It is called democratic accountability.
Pam Brown OBE
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