• Matthew Brennan

Meeting of Dunstable Town Council - 01/02/2021

Tonight’s full meeting of the Dunstable Town Council (DTC) was the first full council meeting of the year and as such, is important because we vote on the budgets for each of the different committees that we sit on. This meeting serves as a good opportunity to explain how some of the procedures work: There are three main committees on the town council: Community Services Committee (CS), Grounds and Environmental Services Committee (GES) and Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GP). Those committees relate to different parts of Dunstable Town Council that oversee specific services such as Grove Corner, which belongs to the CS committee, and Bennetts Splash Park, which is on the GES Committee. For the departments of the town council to be able to do any of the actual work the council does, it needs money and as a result, we vote on where this money is to be allocated.

Prior to the first full council meeting of the year, those three committees independently vote on the budgets proposed by the Chief Executive. If we have any questions or suggestions, we can put them forward accordingly at that time. As not all members of the council are on all committees, the meetings for the committees are then put forward to full council so everyone can review them. Those minutes need to be accurate so they are proposed by their respective Chairs and then seconded before they can be accepted at full council. This evening’s meeting was particularly fun for me as I was sure I heard Chairman of the GES Committee, Councillor Liz Jones, say the wrong year when proposing her minutes. I was ready for uproar; I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the inevitable furore from the other councillors at the mistake. However, no-one else reacted. I may have mis-heard Cllr Jones. Imagine my shock when Chairman of F&GP, Councillor Sid Abbott, mis-read the precept proposal for CBC as Two thousand instead of 2 million and was corrected by Councillors Jones and Martin.

As it stands, we are not really voting at the moment. Since all our meetings are held remotely now, it is far easier to vote by silence. If no-one verbally objects to a particular motion, then that motion is deemed to have passed. Regardless, no votes are recorded by Dunstable Town Council, unless we as councillors specifically request a recorded vote and ask for our objections to a particular matter noted.

The most notable moment in the meeting for me, was the acknowledgment by Mayor Peter Hollick of the good work done by Independent Councillor John Gurney in his efforts to save the towns electoral boundaries from certain doom. At the end of June 2020, the Local Government Boundary Commission proposed to change the ward boundaries of Dunstable which would have resulted in Dunstable being made into three massive wards. Thanks to to the work of Icknield Councillor, John Gurney, (and seven others) the Boundary Commission changed its mind, actually citing Cllr Gurney in their review decision. It was a breath of fresh air hearing the Mayor commend Cllr Gurney as he is not affiliated with the Conservatives. Unfortunately, the commission stopped short of naming one of the soon to be new wards after Cllr Gurney and instead have opted for compass points.

That's all from me, Cllr Matt Brennan, here in Northfields ward; soon to be called "Dunstable North".

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