Tag Archives: Bedford Borough Council

Bedford Borough where time stands still!

18 Dec

And here we go with another instalment telling you how those noble Councillors elected by you (if you live in Bedford that is!) are spending their time in exchange for £10,000 each plus an extra £10,000 if they are on the “A” Team!

This week we are looking at the Licencing Committee which has met four times this year and what an action packed series of meetings they have been!

ZZZZZZZZZZZ!

ZZZZZZZZZZZ!

The first was back in January (2014) and after burning the midnight oil they finally wrapped up after a staggering 10 minutes which kept nine of our brave and the bold busy. After that was one held on May 17th and I had to do a double take as it finished at 7.15pm. Now these meetings usually commence at 6.30pm but unwilling to believe that the meeting could have droned on for 45mins I looked again and was mighty relieved to see it actually started at 7.11pm so just four minutes. Phew!

Next one was 3rd July with nine councillors plus officers waxing lyrical for ten minutes and then after a staggering gap of a few months the next meeting on 6th November scraped home in five minutes and just seven councillors.

Now stay close! The meetings above are the Licensing Committee. There’s also something else called the Licensing Sub Committee but I’m saddened to say that for whatever reason they don’t tell you how long these last and all I can say is that the agenda is somewhat shorter than the marathon sessions listed so there’s actually a real possibility in a DR Who style that these meeting are negative i.e. Minus 4mins. And…Ok I’m actually talking total rubbish here but writing this blog from start to finish including research and a quick wee took me exactly 19mins which is near enough the same amount of time that that well reimbursed gang on the Licensing Committee spent talking about thermally induced atmospheric environments (hot air to me and you!)

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We’d like to hear from you…

9 Dec

Any snippets of gossip can be emailed to us at mcclintongill167@gmail.com . No dirt dishing mind! ….we are aware of the Borough Council officer and his indiscretions but if he wants to behave like that it’s up to him! No…if you have any good tittle tattle like senior Borough employees taking three days off between Christmas and New Year without booking them, managers employing their partners and kids without bothering to interview them, strange deliveries of bricks to private properties in Council vehicles…well that’s what we want although we may not be able to publish things as you’d like we promise to have a good look into things!

Them were the good old days!

Them were the good old days!

In the meantime here’s a blast from the past! It was about fifteen years back and for about a year you couldn’t drive into Bedford without driving past a piece of modern art designed to look like an abandoned car. This one was on London Road and was there for about four weeks. The artist responsible (presumably) kept removing bits of the installation like lights and interior bits and then inverting it or turning it upside down to precise. When the two elderly ladies that lived in the house next to it complained about the nightly tribal gatherings those cheeky monkeys at Bedford Borough Council told them they could only move it if they paid over £100 quid. Someone painted the Council motto “Pride in Bedford” on the side of it and it soon vanished but not before the Council press office issued a statement saying that painting on abandoned cars could lead to a prosecution! I admit it, guilt has been gnawing at my soul…it was me that painted it!

It all got quite funny after this with the Council proving itself to be totally arsing useless at providing even a basic service. Things are marginally better now. See how generous I am!

And quickly with elections due next May Councillors are bleating on about the state of the town’s traffic gridlock and council bin waggons seem to be a net contributor but no one’s made the connection as yet!

Yawning all the way to the office!

Yawning all the way to the office!

Councillor misses a year of meetings..

1 Aug

Ever the sarcastic sods Bedford Bypass has gained a reputation for taking the micky over the state of Bedford Borough Council and the way that councillors spend their time.

In short each councillor gets an annual allowance of over £10,100 as a result of small numbers of people ticking a little box every five years. Then they get extra for taking on various positions of responsibility that are vital for public office to maintain itself, basically you get to be chairs of committee, Deputy this that and the other..that type of thing! The Mayor has singular powers but needs as far as possible to run a happy camp!

If you are one of the lucky few you get on the Mayors cabinet and bingo, house, jackpot, back of the net you can take home an additional £10,000 on top of the basic so you get retired teachers, practicing vicars and people that for whatever reason don’t actually work taking home over £21,000k for their kind commitment to public service. How grateful we are! Much better than being a care assistant and wiping some senile old arse for £16,200 wouldn’t you agree? But safe seats on the council are highly coveted to keep the riff raff out!

Servant and Master

Servant and Master, Labour and Lib Dem.

 To justify this ongoing tragi-comedy there are loads of committee’s some regular some sporadic, some which go on for hours and some which struggle to eek out 30 minutes. One such unexplainable meeting in Borough Hall is called the Sustainability Committee which meets I’d say four or five times a year. Not to be confused with the Environment Committee which talks about similar things for simalar lengths of time!

Cllr Shan Hunt is one of those councillors that has been on the Borough for decades, heroes to some, immovable fossils to others. Apart from four years in the political wilderness after being ditched by an unwashed uneducated Kempston electorate who should have known better she’s been a political force round here since 1986 and worth every penny of the £21,290 she received last year and the £69,658 total since she was voted in in 2011 by a staggering 652 people out of 2970 residents in her ward. That’s 21.95%, Alice suggests I round it up to 22%! I have done in support of Cllr Hunt’s public dedication. Shan is on the Sustainability Committee and has been so busy that she’s  she’s sent her apologies for not attending the last four meetings. In fact Shan hasn’t been able to add her wealth of knowledge to a Sustainability Meeting since January 2013 . Hopefully she will be able to make the next meeting this coming September 2014.

Signs of Life at Borough Hall?

2 Sep
An unusual shot as the lake is sometimes covered in weed!

An unusual shot as the lake is sometimes covered in weed!

Councillors could be seen strolling through the early morning mist towards Borough Hall this morning after their month off. Actually it was gone 10.00am so it might have been car fumes rather than mist but it sounded sort of romantic! Actually it was only one councillor and he lives nearby!
Yep! There’s been hardly any council meetings through August, Planning being the exception and that’s down to legalities so they don’t get much choice, some committees haven’t met for yonks so you might have to wait a while to find out what’s going on! Full Council last met 17th June and the next one is 16th October (a three month gap) General Licencing Committee hasn’t met since May, not much Budget Scrutiny happening as the last get together was in January and the next ain’t till October. Ma McClinton would admonish us for saying “ain’t” but I don’t think she reads Bypass! Also creeping back onto the agenda is the Sustainability Committee which takes place this Wednesday 4th. This last met way back in January so they might have to spend some time going over stuff to figure out what they should be doing after all it’s a tough life being a councillor these days in exchange for a measly £10,000 upwards with some trousering over £22,000.
I’m looking forward to the Performance Report where some bod in Borough Hall uses smiley faces (like on E tabs) or sad faces to denote how the council are doing. It’s one of the few reports where you can see what the “direction of travel is” as they also put little up and down arrows in!
Talking of councillors and expenses Gill has emailed wannabe MP (again) Patrick Hall how he thinks he stands in the public eye when most of the Labour group are in league (and in the pay) of the Lib Dem Mayor and therefore for the most part totally absent from the public eye unless its allowed by his nibs. Patrick has lost none of his political sharpness and dodged the question twice now. I personally think Patrick’s chance of getting his job are the same as Stephen Hawking winning the new series of Strictly but I may be wrong. That said it’s not going to make sod all difference!

Lay on the floor, heads down…stay calm!

18 Jun
Mushrooms: Keep in the dark and feed on bullshit!

Mushrooms: Keep in the dark and feed on bullshit!

When dealing with absurdities I usually opt to have a laugh! I’ve long looked on the Borough Council (this being the actual Councillors) as some sort of elite club in that once they are in they don’t like it when the unwashed vote then out. As low as the voting figures are, the actual cost of keeping however many councillors there are content and quiet is a total absurdity but I can’t find anything funny to say.
Here’s the run down of what the chosen few have “earned” since the new Unitary Bedford Borough Council was created back in 2009.
The top earners are Rev Charles Royden who heads the list with £85,989. Charles is a Lib Dem. Next is Michael Headley who has received £84,082 and as far as I’m aware hasn’t had a job of sorts since I’ve known him so he’s a state funded local politician. Did I say that Michael is a Lib Dem?
Close by is David Sawyer, another Lib Dem who in his four year tenure has taken £81,971 although he’s has stepped down and been replaced by Henry Vann who guess what…is a Lib Dem. In case I didn’t make the point clear they both Lib Dems and if Henners is after riding the lolly train to the House of Commons this will look good on his CV as he touts his brilliance round the UK’s constituencies. So under a Lib Dem Mayor the four top earners are all Lib Dems. I hope they contribute to party funds…in fact I’m told they don’t have a choice!
Now it wouldn’t do to exclude other parties as they’d kick up such a stink so the best thing is to keep your friends close and your enemy’s closer (a Machiavellian trait). Therefore dear reader we see the Labour group (normally and historically detractors of the Lib Dems locally) effectively in bed with them and very compliant. Maybe complacent to the point that they may as well not be there!
By total fluke the longest serving Labour dinosaurs get amply rewarded for their services as follows:
Colleen Atkins takes home £80,015, Sue Oliver has received £79,695, Will Hunt £73,875 and other half Shan has a measly £48,367. Now I’ve bent the rules here so to speak and included these two together as a husband and wife couple have taken home £122,242. A closer look shows they attracted just 1276 votes from 5794 registered voters! Let’s not forget Doug McMurdo who in between putting tents up took £66,314 home.
You gets the choice, you pays your money!

Bedford Borough Councillors trapped in purgatory!

22 May

imagesCA9J9I3GIn a move seemingly designed to purposely give us something to blog about the most recent meeting of Bedford Borough Council’s General Purposes Committee on the 8th May commenced according to the time honoured tradition at 7.01pm and eventually ran out of steam after an incredible three minutes duration at 7.04pm.
Notwithstanding the one from last year that lasted just a minute (without repetition deviation…) this is funny! The Sustainability Committee last met 30thJan and squeezed 28minutes and hasn’t met since. There’s a sustainability joke in there I guess!
Then there’s a new meeting due to start called the Health and Wellbeing Board. Presumably this is to check that councillors are OK with their copious allowances and on a similar theme we await with baited breath this year’s release of information showing what they’ve bagged / trousered in return for going to meetings of interminable length!

Council get tough on litter!

8 Apr

The Borough council send us a Communications release bursting with enthusiasm. Apparently another four miscreants have been “done” for littering. Two didn’t turn up and I wonder firstly how the council littering intervention team (CLIT) check if the details they are given are genuine and secondly as the Borough regularly write off irrecoverable debt I wonder whether or not all these fines they dish out ever result in any payments and if this outweighs the cost of the whole process!
Now Dave the Mayor is always crowbarring himself into these press releases and going on about a cleaner Borough and so on and he might like to take a look at the image below. We were driving to Milton Keynes (the nearest branch of Foot Locker) and there were all sorts of bits and pieces of paper flying around behind the trailer. So much that a camera was thrust in my hand! There’s a distinct possibility that this stuff was coming from the trailer!

On the Bypass!

On the Bypass!

Dave The Mayor might want to study the image and take it across to Stewart Briggs who may like to confirm that the vehicle itself is very very similar to those owned by Fred Sherwood’s, a company that cares for the environment (it says so on the side). Stewie B might like to confirm that this company are paid to take all the Borough councils waste and recycling down to London and over to Milton Keynes!
Maybe at the same time as doing people for dropping litter Dave the Mayor might like to convene a meeting to ensure that the Borough’s contractors aren’t accidentally adding to the general detritus that can be seen along the Bedford Bypass, that spiritual highway that leads us to a better place!
Incidentally the Borough press release came with an attached image and we are pleased to publish it here, I’m sure you will agree it’s a very interesting concept. A black line, very surreal!

Taken from the Borough Council press release! No we don't know what it is either*&^%$£

Taken from the Borough Council press release! No we don’t know what it is either*&^%$£

Borough £millions!

6 Feb

A century ago we had casual labour. Turn up at the dock, the shipyard the factory and smile, look like you adore the man that’s weighing your physique up. Get picked and survive or go home, go hungry, sleep on a bench. Get blacklisted for organising revolt. It’s all come back to haunt us.

Dock casuals!

Dock casuals!

For well over a decade Bedford Borough Council milked its use of agency staff. Here’s a true story first names are genuine no surnames though. Melvin a full time employee had a heart problem, ended up with a stent, time off with full pay and a phased reintroduction back to work. Support from his employer. Paul and Rod likewise had the same heart conditions, Paul had a stent fitted. Back to work as soon as possible. Ite either that or lose your house, get into debt. Piss off, you don’t work for Bedford you work for an agency. Whoah, look at the small print, that paper you signed makes it clear you are not employed by anyone, you don’t exist. Touché. Come back when you’re better. Well that’s down to you, don’t leave it too long as we might have to replace you. Sorry…must go, the phone’s ringing! A friend, Diego lost his job as a panel beater. Was told he had an agency job at the council depot, something to keep the wolves at bay. Turned up on a Monday at 6.00am. Hung around and then got told he wasn’t needed. Same for numerous others. The local press didn’t want to run this story. Which is why I keep repeating it
One thing that Dave the Mayor and myself agree on is that the use of agency staff is a smack in the face and leads to a disgruntled work force and it’s not cost efficient. He heard this from the horse’s mouth when I introduced him to a group of agency staff some years back.

Cllr Michael Headley, bringer of bad news. To other people!

Cllr Michael Headley, bringer of bad news. To other people!

That being so, I’m fairly staggered as to why the Borough Council’s spending this financial year has topped £5million and that’s up to the end of December so ¾ of a year. Peak months were May at £798K, October at £847K and then December at a staggering £1.083million. So it’s not a stable figure in fact there’s wide variance meaning people are coming and going. “Going” is a key word in that as Cllr Michael Headley (pulling in circa £20K and as exciting as continental drift) announces that 40 odd more redundancies are in progress, agency staff don’t figure in the job losses and they can be shown the door at the drop of a hat! Right wing thinking calls this flexible working!
Now I’m seriously impressed with a website http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/ as someone totally unconnected with Bedford Bypass despite the surname has likewise twigged and has asked an excellent question which I’m quite exuberant about, here it is:
“Please provide a breakdown of the roles, daily rates and
departments relating to agency staff employed through Carlisle
Managed Solutions for financial year 2011/12″
Now we will come back to this if and when the answer arrives! They may try to dodge it, I’m sure they’ll try!

Round of golf anyone?

12 Oct

Dave the Mayor insists that he’s being tough on environmental crime by fining people seen dropping litter and cigarette butts. Those that snoop seem to stick to daylight hours and given the state of the High St on Sunday morning, the chance of the enforcement team being seen on Saturday evenings tackling kebab scoffing pissheads seems remote as they clearly don’t want to feature in our “Assault of the Week feature!
People that drop crisp packets and cigs are easy targets though I do know that on one or two occasions persons of size with bald heads and “I’m a lot fu**ing harder than you” type tattoos have been…well..ignored!
The Borough Council can also be selective as to what constitutes an “environmental crime”. One of the oddities of the planning system is that if you want to landfill rubble and inert waste there are all-sorts of environmental and legal requirements. If you are developing a golf course it becomes much easier and considerably cheaper so when does a landfill site become a golf course? Simply apply to your relevant local council and you are quids in, you don’t even need to build the golf course.

There’s a sizeable piece of land before Cople as you head out of Bedford which over a 12 year period has become a dumping ground for hundreds of loads of rubble, crap and all manner of stuff. Yes! It’s a landfill site masquerading as a golf course. That what was said when permission was given to import thousands of tonnes of building rubble back in 1999. Professional “fuckwit” Richard Watts who was head planning honcho at the County Council at the time was just one of a number of well paid twats that were clearly clueless as to how to stop it and everyone involved inc the Borough just knew that all it was an illicit way of getting rid of tonnes and tonnes of shit at low cost and that the chance of getting the golf course was as high as getting Elvis to cut the ribbon on opening day.Assisted by Michael Jackson. With this matter ruffling many local feathers since 2000 , back in 2008 Bedford Borough again gave further planning permission for more and more waste to be dumped on the land! I gather that dumping was to cease by October 2011 and that restoration and the expected golf course would follow! Being local I have my own view!

The site was operated by local “muckaway” company Moores. A reputable and much respected local outfit that some years back were party to a scam at a Borough Council site by which the County Council unwittingly met the bill for the dodgy waste. Cash changed hands, the Police were involved, I got involved in a professional capacity after a request from the Police, Borough staff were sacked and Shaun Field then the boss of Bedford Borough got narked that I’d found out. (Mr Simpkins might want to ask Mr Briggs for his version of events)
Back to the golf course. I’ve been looking at some correspondence from the Mayor’s office and reading between the lines he had as much hope of getting a golf course as the locals although he does promise to help them if re-elected (and he was). The site in its rather bedraggled state is now up for sale. There’s untold amounts of rubble and waste been plonked on the land and is now sitting behind a metal fence (though you can get in the round the back if you like wandering across derelict land.

Much better to stick to safe targets and idiots that can’t be bothered putting their butts in bins are multitude, enough to add to the depleted town hall coffers and add to the “tough law man” image!

A bargain!

A bargain!

Intruder Alert Intruder Alert Intruder Alert Intruder Alert Intruder!

8 Jun

I found one of my old pass cards from my time at the Borough Council earlier this week. Intrigued as to whether or not I had been deleted from the system I thought I’d check to see. Now I had several courtesy of a chap that worked there one or two under odd versions of my name which is why I’ve covered it up in the picture.

Anyway said card was swiped through the “Let Me In” machine and guess what! Hee Hee!