Consultation over Devolved Services

At Mondays Council meeting the issue of devolved services was discussed, with a proposal from Cllr Smith for a public consultation. I will let you make your own judgement by pointing you at the YouTube recording of the full council meeting. (Recording by John Walker - TOPCAMERAMAN)

The relevant section is between 1 hr 17 minutes and 1 hr 37 minutes:

We are interested to hear that the Council will seek ways of consulting with “Informed members of the community” says Councillor Fyson. What is interesting is who will decide who those “Informed Members” are?

We also note with interest Cllr. Gent’s comment that the 3 people who object the most are not even here! That may be down to his view that Councillors do not need to consult with the community because Councillors were elected to do that for them!!! If Cllr. Gent took a quick look at our snap poll he would find that the score is now 12 for and 35 against the council’s proposal, significantly more than three and surely enough to make them think that a consultation process is essential.

We also note that while Council voted on the amendment to Cllr Smiths proposal they did not vote on the original Cllr. Smith proposal. The Mayor was also incorrect in his assertion that Cllr. Smith needed to state how the consultation would take place. Cllr. Smith’s proposal for consultation with the public was seconded and therefore should have been voted on by Council. The Mayor does not have the authority to challenge the wording of the proposal on his own and it is up to the Council to decide how they fulfill the proposal for consultation. We await with interest the proposals from the working group making this decision. The other interesting fact is that this years Council tax included an additional precept of about £100,000 in anticipation of the transfer of assets, but that funding is not ring-fenced in any way. We will watch with interest to see how those funds are allocated over this period.


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  1. I watched the first few minutes of this as there was a link provided by a person who’s professionalism and points of view I respect. I find it astounding that a person who is supposed to have the interests of their ward members at the forefront of their agenda lets the fact that the meeting is being recorded override those interests. This is childish in the extreme. Astounding.

  2. Mike thanks for your comment: This is Dartmouth Council remember. You will also note several seats empty where some Councillors have “given up” on the democratic process which is being abused by this Council. The Devolution of services may well be a good idea but how can we judge when we are kept in the dark and treated as though we dont have the knowledge to judge these decisions. Councillors seem to forget that this is our money they are spending - I want to know where they are spending it and why.

  3. As a cameraman I was just doing what I was asked to do and that was film The Full Council Meeting. Councillor Coles was initially directing her complaint at a the reporter from the Dartmouth Chronicle who was with his mobile phone filming in panoramic which included all that was sitting opposite to him. After Councillor Coles complain that the camera was pointing at her the reporter moved his mobile phone so as to not include Councillor Coles in his shot this he did and all that could be seen of her was her right hand waving and still complaining. At this point I had no ongoing long-running dispute with Councillor Coles it’s just when she left the meeting I as any cameraman would followed her to the door. Conclusion I do know what is the problem with Gina Coles but looking at her when she was standing at the door I can not help feeling sorry for her and that she needs some sort of help and for her own health and age she really should step back from politics for her own good only saying.

    • John - the public are only allowed in to the Council meeting on the basis that they restrict their questioning to the 15 minutes allocated to them. Without that discipline then Council Meetings would break up in disarray on a regular basis. You cannot address Councillors during their debates and I understand why.

      • Mr Reach,
        Please can you explain to me why my comments answering Mr Walker’s very rude analysis about my health, age, mental state of mind and ability to hold the post of councillor, as well as including a downright lie, is being moderated and yet the original post, which even you must see is disgraceful, as is Mr Walker’s continual harassment of me, is not?
        I find this very interesting.

        • In total I have redacted 5 posts including three from John Walker and two from yourself. I felt they had crossed the boundary of personal attacks and should not be conducted in public. You will note that I also broke my own rule by offering some defence of your actions. I think I have been fair.

          • I’m sorry Paul I only saw the two red redaction notices over my posts. I am very used to Mr Walker posting vile comments, lies and videos about me but this one, together with the video that he took as he and the Chronicle reporter hounded me out of the council meeting was just too much and I broke my rule to ignore it all but I won’t do it again.

          • Gina When you decide to serve the community in Dartmouth you need to be prepared to take some personal attacks, as passions ride high in this town. If I told you some of the attacks I faced when leading the BID you would be surprised. I suspect more people understand the reasons for the BID now with the dramatic drop in footfall we are experiencing but that is no compensation. You need to shrug off the attacks because they usually come from people who are not prepared to serve their town like you haver.

    • Paul,, the fact that there were empty seats during the last council meeting does not mean some councillors have “given up on the democratic process”. One is the mayor’s usual seat and another the deputy mayor’s usual seat - you may have noticed that they were on the dais. Another empty seat was Gina’s for reasons you know about. The fourth is Cllr Hawke’s: he has been away sick for some time. Assumptions are easy to make.

      About your survey: over the last couple of weeks the police, assisted by three councillors - myself included- have carried a survey of the public in Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and M&S. No one that we have spoken to raised asset transfer as a concern. These were local people chosen at random, equally as a valid as a targeted online poll.

      Turning to the last council meeting: I was the councillor who was interrupted by Mr Walker. When I approached him afterwards, he said he had been waiting to be called to speak. As you have pointed out, members of the public have no automatic right too speak outside the regular question slot. To interrupt someone while they are speaking is plain bad manners. I still await an apology.

      • Why are the police carrying out a survey? What is the purpose and in what context does the survey raise the issue of the asset transfer?

        • The police began the survey to find out views on policing in the town.. It will be made public but it’s up to them to do that. As part of the survey we asked for residents to express their views of any topic they chose - responses ranged from dog fouling to the bank closure, neither of which were police matters. I assumed that if the topic of asset transfer was of general interest it might have been raised. It wasn’t.

          So that is it Ed: no conspiracy.

          • Thanks for your reply - I wasn’t suggesting a conspiracy, David. However, extrapolating from a survey about policing in Dartmouth and “any topic” they chose is not something from which the conclusion ‘people are not concerned about the asset transfer’ can be drawn. Good to hear that you think the public should be consulted though. Will look forward to seeing what form that will take.

  4. OK John and Gina. its Christmas the time of good will and friendship so if you dont mind I am going to moderate and suppress your personal conversation and suggest you carry it on in private. Hope you understand.

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