Why Newport Parish Council Didn’t Submit A Bid For Economic Improvement Funding (updated)

Details of the several suggestions for EIF projects by Newport Parish Council and why they didn’t submit any bids for funding.

As we mentioned earlier, a row broke out in the council chamber at County Hall on Wednesday evening following the withdrawal of a motion relating to the Economic Improvement Fund (EIF).

Newport GuildhallThe motion had criticised Newport Parish Council for failing to submit a bid for a slice of the EIF – Newport Parish Council (NPC) was entitled to £36,425 of funding.

EIF proposals shared with all members
On Monday evening, Newport East councillor, Geoff Lumley, sent all members an extract from the NPC minutes for 13 February 2012.

The extract outlined the various proposals NPC had suggested, discussed and rejected (reproduced at the bottom of this article).

Following the row at Wednesday’s meeting, Cllr Lumley told VB, “After I circulated the Minutes of Newport Parish Council regarding the Economic Improvement Fund to all IW Councillors on Monday, I was not at all surprised that Cllr Jones-Evans withdrew her Motion on Wednesday night.

“The last thing Pugh and his group would have wanted is me having the opportunity to relate the truth about why Newport PC did not submit an EIF bid after weeks of trying to.”

Claims of misrepresentation
Cllr Lumley continued, “Far better that Cllrs Pugh and Jones-Evans could continue to misrepresent what actually happened at Newport PC than have the truth told. Oh so typical of this tyrannical Tory Council.

“However, Cllr Pugh still had his planted public question option on Wednesday night from a Calbourne Parish Councillor who had the chutzpah to criticise Newport PC without knowing the truth, when his own council also did not bid for EIF money! That is why we had the extended row about ‘points of order’ over that question on Wednesday night.”

We wrote to Jed Dwight on Friday morning inviting him a right of reply to Cllr Lumley’s comment above. As yet we’ve not received a reply, but if we do, naturally, we will update here.

Update 27.03.12: Jed told VB, “I am disappointed that Councillor Lumley would think that I raised a planted question which, of course, wasn’t the case.

“I spoke on my own behalf because I am interested in the Economic Improvement Fund on the Island and I know that Calbourne PC investigated the chances of success for three of our projects and were advised that the proposals would be unsuccessful.

“My question was how we can make the process easier for us and others in the same position and no slight was meant to Newport Town Council.”

“Undemocratic and disreputable”
Cllr Lumley continued, “I believe it is entirely undemocratic and disreputable not to allow an IW Councillor who can reveal the truth about what happened at Newport PC over the EIF, whilst allowing the IW Council Leader to misrepresent another Council of which he isn’t even a member.

“Frankly I would rather Cllr Jones-Evans answered the question given that she is also a Newport PC councillor who could then be held to account at that body for any misinformation.

“The extended row was unfortunate, but sometimes you have to stand up to Tory bullies. That is what I did on Wednesday night and will continue to do as long as I have a platform.”

Bid suggestions
Below is the extract from the Minutes of the NPC meeting in February that Cllr Lumley sent to all members on Monday evening.

*Economic Improvement Fund* – a report had been circulated on the various proposals discussed at the working party meetings. Members discussed these in more detail.

*Guildhall* – the proposal was for external decoration and repairs to the building using a contractor that would employ a young person to learn the old methods of construction that related to a listed building. This was rejected because a decision has not been made by the IWC on a way forward for the Guildhall, so use of the Fund money was not considered to be appropriate. However, it has been ascertained that there are not funds in the 2012/13 IWC budget for renovation works, only essential repairs.

*Free car parking *- the proposal was to consider subsidising the cost of the town centre car parks on a Friday afternoon. However, this was rejected as it would change IWC policy and therefore is not within the criteria of the Fund.

*Administrative Apprentice *- consideration was given to employing an apprentice to shadow the parish clerk. However, the advice given by the IWC was this may be too limited to meet the criteria, as it would only have economic benefit for one person, for a short time.

*Incredible Edible *- this was to be match funded by the Spectrum Group, but Members felt this did not meet the criteria for economic growth and this was backed up by advice from the IWC

*Subsidised bus journeys – *a reduced rate on Southern Vectis bus journeys to Newport on a number of Saturdays was discussed, but after consideration it was felt this may be open to abuse, so the proposal was withdrawn.

Cllr Lumley summed up the projects saying the Guildhall renovation was the preferred proposal and he felt the rejection was very disappointing as it was well supported and had been initiated by the local member, Cllr Dawn Cousins. The final two proposals were discussed.

*Signage -* a detailed proposal was made for new tourist signs in the town, with a view to removing the illegal ‘A’ boards. The new signs would include a map and historical information which would replace the dated information currently available. It was proposed that businesses could pay to be named on the boards. A number of members expressed concern that this would not remove the illegal boards, as removal had been requested numerous times in the past four years without success. In addition it would increase the visual clutter in the town, as well as providing more obstacles for disabled visitors to negotiate. A vote was taken with 4 votes in favour and 6 against. Therefore, the proposal was lost.

*Digital Signage -* the proposal was to advertise on the ferries to encourage tourism in Newport. Ryde Town Council had recently carried out a similar campaign. However, it was argued that it was not known if this was successful in Ryde as there was no data available. It was also felt that until the traffic congestion is addressed it would not be advisable to encourage more visitors. A vote was taken with 2 votes in favour and 8 against. Therefore the proposal was lost.

It was agreed not to put forward any applications to the IWC Economic Improvement Fund unless any further proposals were brought to the parish council before the deadline of 17th February.

*2012/13 Precept* – at the December meeting it was resolved to set the budget for 2012/13 at £139,140. However, the anticipated under spend of £17,462 had been left in abeyance while the EIF was discussed. It was suggested that the apprentice scheme required further investigation independently of the EIF and £5,000 should be set aside until this discussion was completed. If this scheme proved to be unsuitable then the funds would be returned to reserves. Therefore, it was proposed to set the precept at £126,678 returning £12,462 to the residents. This was agreed with 1 abstention.

*RESOLVED**:*

*THAT, the parish council would not submit any application to the IWC
Economic Improvement Fund at this time.*

Saturday, 24th March, 2012 12:50pm

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Filed under: Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Newport

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24 Comments on "Why Newport Parish Council Didn’t Submit A Bid For Economic Improvement Funding (updated)"

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Clare richards

In summary then, the Town Council didn’t unanimously agree on a proposal which met the criteria of the EIF, and instead voted to reduce the precept. Democracy in action!

Clare Richards

In summary then, the town council considered a number of proposals for the EIF bid, some of which they were advised did not meet the criteria for the funding.

Of the remaining proposals, none secured support from a majority of councillors.

It was therefore resolved not to submit a bid for the fund and instead reduce the precept for 2012/13.

Have I missed something? Isn’t this democracy in action?

Asite2c

If I was a leader of a business, group or organization, and was seen as untrustworthy, misleading, inexperienced, no good at the job, a user of bad language in front of the public and made myself look a fool for millions to watch on YouTube, I wonder if I would stay in the job?

dispondent
Im not sure what any of that has to do with this. This story is about a specific aspect of council buisness, and seems to be a political confrontation between a tory councillor and a labour councillor, that is of course Geoff Lumley and David Williams. Williams was the chairman who decided that Pugh would be the one to answer the question, since clearly the question was… Read more »
Janet Scott

A2C… you would if you were arrogant.

Retired hack

*Free car parking *– the proposal was to consider subsidising the cost of the town centre car parks on a Friday afternoon. However, this was rejected as it would change IWC policy and therefore is not within the criteria of the Fund.

Isn’t this exactly what happens in Ventnor (on Thursdays)?

hammerjammer

Dispondent, I like the he IS doing the job comment, indeed he is but very very badly, and with a huge amount of misinformation. He mentioned this on vectis radio, and was scathing about Geoff Lumley, he never gives us the real story. Remember his evidence at the parliamentary committee!!!!!!

dispondent
how do you know he never gives the real story? How do you know that Geoff Lumly isnt actually playing a political game over this? It seems to me that the issue has been voted on and a decision made. As with Pughtube, evidence at the parlimentary committee is not relevant here. People are far too keen to assume that Pugh is in the wrong. Perhaps in… Read more »
Better Red than Bled

And hopefully all through the rest of 2012, I for one would hate to miss Geoff being to blame for all of the councils ills for a whole 9 months! Just imagine having to be told all about a new “badman” that didn’t understand how a council should be run and that asked awkward questions!

dispondent
Im not quite sure what your on about, but my point is that people should remember that although Geoff appears to be a man of the people and to stand up to the big bad tories, he still has a political agenda, and sometimes that agenda is quite obvious, such as petty points of order about who answers a question that begins with “My question is to… Read more »
No.5

surely Geoff and Pugh are both guilty of this…Pugh far more so.

This specific issue is a ‘non-issue’ blown out of contention.

The reality is Pugh is unable to effectively run a council and the chance lies with us in 2013 to show our disgust…personally I think he will win again, but this still does not qualify him to run our council

dispondent
I would say Lumley actually does this more often. However, it doesnt get noticed because it is usually done against Pugh. Politics should not be a part of a councillors remit, their sole job should be to run the services our taxes pay for. Yet politics are continually injected in by all councillors, and Lumley seems to be a prime mover in that. He often does well… Read more »
Foxy34
What a shame iwc are not working with parish councils to develop a coordinated set of priorities which would be looked favourably on by the people making the funding decisions. There should have been advice in place to prevent discussions like subsidising parking and busses (council services, so basically giving money back to the council). Proper advice would be evidence iwc is actively encouraging economic development because… Read more »
DH
I’ve had some recent conversations with Parish Councillors. From the ones I’ve spoken to, they are at their wits ends with the current crop in county hall. The PCs feel it is their duty to make their councillor representing their ward to fulfil this role but believe they are more driven with what is said at county hall rather than representing their voters. Politics and empire building… Read more »
hammerjammer
All evidence of pugh and his inability to be fullsome with the facts are relevant surely, they are indicators of his attitude to people. You make a very keen defense of this council and Pugh, but the indicators point to someone being slightly liberal with the facts. Why would Jones Evans have removed her question at the last minute, if they wanted democratic debate on the matter?… Read more »
biggmarket
I don’t think it’s a question of defending David Pugh. What is being challenged is the view that DP is the only one playing politics here. Goff is a canny man(that’s the North East definition by the way)but it seems to me he is more than capable of political point scoring. Let’s face it we are 12 months away from the next Council Elections and all Councillors… Read more »
biggmarket

Or even Geoff

EinsteinsGhost

£36,245? I think this a drop in the ocean compared to what would be needed to sort out Newport, which is without doubt a blot on the landscape of the Island. The Town is at best nondescript and characterless and at worst downright ugly!

Paul Miller

As I read between the lines, Newport Parish Council should have had at least one single scheme it could put into the IWC for a share of the £250k loose change announced in December. But it didn’t.

As they say in South Park:

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103454/the-chewbacca-defense

dispondent

the only thing between the lines is blank page. stop trying to second guess things and concentrate on the facts.

hammerjammer

If the question is directed at the leader, but he knows that others have more knowledge on the subject, is it unreasonable to think that he would want them to give their input so we all get a better insight as to what is happening. To then continue speaking after being stopped by the chair is yet more proof of the man’s lack of respect for others.

Fred Karno
It’s worth making a comparison with Ryde who used the legislation on offer when they started out and are a ‘Town Council’. Quite why Newport, the County Town, failed to do this is a puzzle. Ryde Town Council are involved in all sorts of initiatives, not least of all funding, (courtesy of local tax payers) and saving the swimming pool and it’s not a secret that Ryde… Read more »
Jonathan Bacon
Two things seem to arise from this debate. Firstly the EIF has been cleverly driven to mean that projects have been approved that can be pointed to at election time next year as something that has been done for local communities (which, in a very clever move, those communities have been forced to put forward half the money for) Secondly the need to remove party agendas from… Read more »
adrian nicholas
Johnathan makes the case that this whole scheme has is political, i would go further and suggest, that tory preferences and turning down of non-tory newport PC is wholly done to show how the tories are seen to be committed to their Localism Bill. Yet, clearly Jones-Evans and Pugh decided to make a petty political point by turning down Newport’s 4 bids – so obviously local democracy… Read more »