New group’s pledge to put town first

DISILLUSIONED Clevedon residents have formed a new group aimed at breathing new life into the town council, which they believe has ‘no strategy or leadership’.

Members of Clevedon First plan to lobby for more to be done to protect the interests of residents and eventually want to be able to contest all seats on Clevedon Town Council during the next round of elections in 2015.

Town councillor Jane Geldart, who has helped create Clevedon First and was elected in 2011, said: “We are a fledgling group of Clevedon residents who all feel we have a town that has no strategy or leadership in reversing the decline of the town or making it a more attractive place to live, work and shop.

“I personally joined the council as I was determined to bring about change on a council I thought seemed detached from the reality of the people of Clevedon’s lives and concerns.

“I have found the last year or so I have been a councillor so disheartening and wrong that the ‘old school’ just keep on block voting against new initiatives or new ways of doing things.

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“I also feel that often there isn’t the fight there for resources for Clevedon from North Somerset Council.

“Over the past 18 months I have found that any new initiative is met with foot dragging and delaying tactics.

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“A simple bollard costing �275 to protect children in Queens Square took four years to approve.”

Recently Cllr Geldart was banned from tweeting during town council meetings after members raised concerns her messages on the social networking site could be misinterpreted by those reading them.

She added: “Live tweeting was an attempt to make people aware of what was going on in council, something my fellow councillors thought was too radical.

“Clevedon First feels perhaps there needs to be new blood on the council now to provide leadership and to fight for resources.

“The town council has �250,000 to spend each year – surely it should be spent in the way the town wants it to be.”

Clevedon First, which is non-party political and non-sectarian, will contest its first seat on the town council on October 4 when a by-election for the Walton ward is held following the resignation of the councillor for that area. Andrew Withers will be the group’s candidate.

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