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Full Council 4 July 2012

by timpickstone on 5 July, 2012

Last night was the regular meeting of Bury’s ‘full’ Council – the 5 or 6 times a year where all 51 councillors meet together.

Yesterday we also met for a Special meeting of Council – to bestow on three people the honour of ‘Freedom of the Borough’. This was bestowed on former Whitefield councillor Derek Boden, following his 40 years service as a member Bury Council (and the former Whitefield Urban District Councillor), East Bury community campaigner Harry Reid, and the General Manager of Bury FC – Jill Neville. (The latter meant that I got to sit in right behind Jill’s son Phil Neville, who I understand plays for a football club that has its stadium in the same city of the great Liverpool FC….. )

The formal meeting started at 7pm and as with all council meetings opened with questions from members of the public. A number of residents from Sheepfoot Lane in Prestwich had come to the meeting to complain about the dreadful experience they had had around the Stone Roses concerts in Heaton Park last weekend (significant incidences of anti-social behaviour). The Council Leader agreed to raise these issues with the leadership of Manchester City Council.

Each Councillor can submit two questions to the Council Leadership. I asked a question about the take-up of the new mini-brown bins which were given to 20,000 households in Bury in the Spring. I don’t think that many people are using them – and this was confirmed – 70% of people haven’t put them out, which I think is pretty significant.

I also asked about the seeming change in policy for replacing the ‘mini-brown bins’ with a more sensibly sized bin. When they were launched the then Cabinet member announced that anyone who wanted a bigger bin would have one. This now doesn’t seem to be the case, as apparently 80% of people who have asked for a bigger bin – have been told they can’t have one for operational reasons.

I also asked a question on the Council’s targets for new income. Apparently most of the new income is around new charges (such as pre-applicaiton planning advice – a new charge introduced very recently) and I guess things like the those endlessly unpopular bus lane fines on the A56 near Gigg Lane.

My Lib Dem colleague Donal O’Hanlon asked questions about the costs of the continuing removal of fly-tipped waste from the former Prestwich Tip site and the cost to Bury Council of the Stone Roses concerts.

The answers to these and other questions will be uploaded by the Council shortly here.

Next we came to motions, of which three had been submitted:
– a motion (which apparently was being discussed across Greater Manchester) calling on the Government to introduce standardise packaging for cigarettes (i.e. so cigaret companies cannot do attractive packaging) – carried with all party support.
– a motion (from the Conservatives) calling for councillors who had (I understand) been campaigning outside a primary school in the election to apologies, and for us all to agree not to do this in the future (we voted in favour, but it was voted down by the Labour Councillors).
– a motion (from the Conservatives) calling for more openness and information in the budget setting process (we voted in favour, but it was voted down by the Labour Councillors).

The meeting finished at 10pm, which given my first meeting at the Town Hall had been at 3.00pm, felt like a long ‘evening’. Papers for full Council are http://burydem.bury.gov.uk/aksbury/users/public/admin/kab14.pl?operation=SUBMIT&meet=86&cmte=COU&grpid=public&arc=71.

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