Some weeks ago The Riverporter contacted the Town Clerk about a matter raised at the November Amenities Committee meeting. The Council had been contacted about making a payment for using the Sheepmarket pavement
for the Farmers’ Market.
The Clerk confirmed that she had taken a call but declined to say more about it until it had come to the Council. She did confirm that the request had not come from the District or County Councils.
Now being good journalists we like to confirm the accuracy of our articles before publishing, so we waited for the minutes of the meeting to appear so we could be sure of the facts.
The minutes duly appeared at the December Council meeting but did not contain any information about this request for payment, although it had clearly been discussed.
Our understanding was that the request for payment was to be backdated 5 years and could be for many thousands of pounds, money that is not allocated in the current budget,so we were surprised that it wasn’t discussed at December’s Full Council Meeting, according to the agenda.
Even more surprising is that it may have been discussed at an informal, unminuted, meeting on
Saturday 22nd December and that a sizeable payment has been made to HDC.
We contacted the Council before Christmas to seek clarification but have had no reply.
There are several questions that need answers:
Who is the payment to and who sanctioned it? Why was any discussion not minuted? Why is the
Council holding private unminuted meetings and where is the money coming from if it’s not in
the current budget?
If this fee/charge(?) is to be recouped from the market traders, will this affect the markets viability? As taxpayers shouldn’t we know?