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Community Area Partnership

A picture for Community Area Partnership

On Wednesday the 18th of June there was a well attended Public Meeting at the Hinton Hall to discuss this initiative, under the Chair ship of Mr. Nigel Knowles the Chair of Fovant Parish Council. The Principal Speaker was Mr. Len Turner the Chair of the Wiltshire Forum of Community Area Partnerships. Mr. John Thomson the Deputy Leader of the Wiltshire County Council provided further in depth information. There were Delegates from as far South as Tollard Royal, for it is proposed that the whole locale be included in the Proposed Partnership.

There was an air of scepticism amidst the Audience, even so when a show of hands was called the majority were interested in investigating the matter further, mysteriously some who voted against the idea signified an interest to pursue the cause, which had been presented with all the enthusiasm that one might expect to hear of a Recruiting ‘Pyramid’ Salesman.

A Lady from the back of the Assembly suggested that the scheme was something of a slap in the face for elected hard working Parish Councils, and a Tisbury Brigadier waxed lyrical in the same vein, thus excusing me having so to do, despite making various asides such as ‘ A better name for the Area Partnership might be District Council’. The two Speakers severally advised that people no longer offered their Candidacy as Parish Councillors because Disclosure of Assets was now called for, and too it was a matter of ‘Cash’. The Wiltshire County Council proposed to rectify the latter. I take it using our money. All that is as may be. However was their Analysis of Electoral Apathy correct? Maybe persons have no wish to find themselves in an ineffectual ‘Office’ no one has elected them to hold.

Sometime after we moved here in 1981 it was Election Tide. Everyone had the opportunity to offer his or her Candidacy. It was not apathy that stopped me from ‘having a go’, because I had already twice stood unsuccessfully as an Independent Candidate for the New Forest District Council. I had real excuses up my sleeve. The first was that the Parish Council was well filled by inoffensive indigenous Councillors, whose ‘Apple Cart’ one had no reason to even attempt to upset. Furthermore for a New comer to attempt District Councillorship, seemed too arrogant to contemplate. Instead one busied oneself about ones children’s schools, and peripherally the Retention of Grammar Schools, which at one time Local Conservatives seemingly wished to abolish.

Somewhere along the line ‘Local Government’ left the Rails. Was it following Ted Heath’s rearrangements in the early 1960s. It had little to do with the rearrangements of Boundaries such as affected Tisbury and Mere. One major influence was that those who lived in one area and worked in another, were no longer allowed to either vote or become a Councillor for the Ward of their Workplace. Apparently the Community Partnership has a scheme to obviate this problem.

Was it then or later that the Theatricality of Office was abandoned. Even where the ‘Mayoralities’* had not disappeared, the dignity of its Office was set aside, its Primacy devolved onto some Party Political Apparatchik. ‘Royal Charters’ fell into the custody of Charter Trustees. We all have our own Political Sympathies, but which the call for them on a District Council? Tisbury has been very fortunate in the Calibre of its Councillors, but please believe me that far too often any Candidate wearing the correctly coloured Rosette, is considered better than no Candidate at all. Indeed ‘Yes Men’ are oft preferable. (* Spell Check, keeps changing the word to Moralities).

Central Government divested Local Government of much of its Influence; but Local Government in turn spawned one QUANGO after another, and Hired no end of Staff to supervise each. To paraphrase Sir Alan Sugar in ‘The Apprentice’

‘I’ve not been in Local Government for thirty years come last month, I will fire the lot of you if I have to. I don’t care a …..’

This COMMUNITY AREA PARTNERSHIP is nothing more than a ‘Talking Shop’ instigated to give us the illusion that we are being consulted. We are all to be members, none of us is to be elected, nor is the Partnership to have any right to do more than express its opinion. Puts me in mind of a Caucus Race.**

Has not Tisbury just been there with ‘TISVIS’ with which I had some involvement before resigning. That seems little more than a Financial Disaster. Not content to spend the initial Euro-grant; Tisbury Community Charge Payers, had to bail it out from our Precept. Which the point of many of the TisVis Questions, which the worth of the conclusions? We were apparently content with our ‘Ambulance’ Service. Well maybe the rest of Tisbury think that, but I think it an absolute disaster. Such was admitted to be the case at this Area Partnership Meeting. Apparently instead of the situation being rectified, we are to have

‘COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONSE’ shift- working two day trained stand by operatives with an Oxygen Mask ( No mention of Oxygen so maybe the element is implicit) and a Defribulator, and some Bandages, a mobile phone, Insurance Cover, and a Local Supervisor to co-ordinate, refresher sessions each year, and re-qualification after three years. Criminal Record and Health Checks, no liability to attend road incidents or the like, nor permission to deal with any child below an age of, was it eight?…By the time a patient calls the Supervisor, and the Supervisor calls the Operative, and the Operative collects the equipment, and gets to the Patient, he or she might well be dead. Not knocking it, signed up as a patient myself. None the less it puts one in mind of our recent French Holiday Village, There one House sports an ‘Instincter Communuale’ on its road side wall, this instead of an accessible Fire Engine.

THIS CFR. SCHEME IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A PROPERLY LOCATED AMBULANCE, or the DISTRICT NURSE In her/ his Cottage. I am possibly wrong but did not Tisbury once have its own Ambulance, we certainly had the Nurse’s Cottage.

The Proposed Community Area Partnership, and TisVis and all of their Ilk are as ineffective as is a ‘School Debating Society’. We are about to lose our District Council and become a Unitary Authority. Local Representation is best effected by an ELECTED PARISH COUNCIL. It is their job to listen to local opinion, and to act accordingly. What do we know of Tollard Royal, where?

Unfortunately currently few bother to attend Parish Council meetings. But then why should anyone. It may be that pontificating over what Mrs X wishes to do to her Leylandii. is no concern of ours. If only Parish Councils were more pro-active, then each would be better supported.

We are about to hear the deliberation of the Wiltshire Boundary Commission. Hopefully many Parish Councils will we ‘Collectivised’ The present configuration is little short of an absurdity.


contact : John B. Pope