First Council meeting for the new councillors

How did it go?

It showed that the new Council is full of ideas and determined to make a difference to the town but needs the help of others to achieve their ambitions. The new Councillors are learning the processes of the Council chamber and it is a steep learning curve.

Public questions need to be restricted to two minutes per question, approval of the minutes of meetings will become more streamlined, constructing proposals and voting on them will become smoother and the techniques for making clear decisions will improve with time but overall the outlook for this Council is very positive. The trick will be maintaining this enthusiasm after a setback or two. We wish them every success with their ambitions.

What are their priorities?

  1. Firstly they will review the standing orders and financial regulations to help them achieve their objective of a more participative Council working more closely with the community.
  2. Revisiting the Neighbourhood plan is high on their list but this will be led from outside the Council, possibly by the D&K Society.
  3. Health and Wellbeing is a big priority and Cllr Vardy made a proposal to form a new joint group bringing together the many stakeholders in this area, to discuss and negotiate a positive way forward for healthcare in Dartmouth.
  4. Improved two way communications is central to the ambitions of this Council and Cllr Campos proposed the formulation of a communications strategy maybe involving a new subcommittee. We believe this idea is central to changing the way the Council interacts with the community and we encourage the Councillors to embrace Cllr. Campos’s ideas.

We intend to help the Council in their ambitions by reporting on Council meetings as often as we can, but the attendance last night suggest the town is much more engaged in local Council politics than they were. This interest is also reflected in our experience with our last post reaching 210 people with social media adding over 2000 more in Dartmouth.

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  1. I really hope the new council do not propose more than they can deliver, a little bit at a time is the way to go, yes there is a lot to achieve and fix. When l have a long list of things that need doing l prioritise them, then do one job at a time in the end they all get done and all is well. Job done. I wish all the councilors, staff, working groups, all the very best.

  2. Dart Patients (Dartmouth Medical Practice Patients Participation Group) very much welcomes the Council’s interest in promoting health and wellbeing in Dartmouth. We have invited Councillor Ged Yardy to join the PPG and we, together with Dartmouth Caring have met with him to explain the issues we confront and the initiatives that have been taken recently to improve the delivery of health and wellbeing services in our town-especially the launching of Dartmouth Together, the completion of a survey of patients’ opinions, to monitor progress on the establishment of our promised new Health and Welfare Centre and the provision of at least two local intermediate care beds with nursing, to audit local intermediate care services, the launching of an initiative to improve the Dartmouth Medical Practice appointments system and another to help more patients to get on line to make appointments,reorder prescriptions or check their test results. Dart Patients has been in discussion with the GP Practice to reduce the delay in getting doctor’s appointments and provide greater continuity of care. We would greatly appreciate any support the Council may offer to help us achieve our mission. We are keen to work together with the new Council for the better health and wellbeing of local residents.

  3. I had promised myself not to make any comments about our new council until there feet were firmly under the Council Chamber tables, but those that know me are fully aware that I can’t resist the temptation to comment when needed.
    Like many others before me when I was elected to Dartmouth Town Council in 2007 I suffered with the same problems as our new ones are experiencing now, I wanted to change things for what I believed was the better overnight if not in a short period of time, I had compiled a to do / bucket list but within the very first year I realised that it’s not that simple, Council procedures, policies, standing orders were barriers or simply safeguards aimed at people like me that are considered to be loose cannons.
    I do not in anyway criticise enthusiasm but being an elected member enthusiasm quickly turns to frustration.
    Newly elected members with my greatest respect need to understand that Dartmouth Town Council is the lowest tier in local government, in a nutshell with no powers best described as a barking dog with no teeth. Dartmouth Town Council has a legal obligation with the management of the Town’s Corporate Property..Guildhall, Market Square, Butterwalk, Longcross Cemetery, recent transfer of Assets from South Hams District Council, Hadley Trust, Visitors Center, and Dartmouth Charities all the other important areas of concern for our wonderful community Dartmouth Town Council has a collective vocal voice of opinion only, and that’s why elected members can be vocalin areas the council has no control over,

    PARKING: Devon County Council has the control and the more you annoy them the likelihood it will be that they will resurrect there plan to implement Parking Metres.

    Controlled by the NHS appointed representatives CCG, and I respectfully question Cllr Vardy idea to organise yet another sub committee on this when there are groups already formed that have no powers other than vocal.

    DARTMOUTH’S INFRASTRUCTURE (Trading and Footfall)
    An independent group ran for many years under the title of Dartmouth Chamber of Trade a steering group of business that should be banging the table to be heard no longer exist and that was by there own choice.

    I am not in the least apologetic to ramble on with this as I strongly believe that our new elected members must understand sooner rather than later our elected council has no powers, the power remains with South Hams District Council and Devon County Council and the need to use our elected County Councillor and our elected District Councillors more now than ever before.
    I wish all new elected members well in there vocal campaigns with representing this community and hope that you all serve your four year term
    because resignations are costly to the public purse for contested elections.

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