Councillor challenges ruling on Westhoughton CCTV cover
A LONG-RUNNING debate on what measures should be taken to improve the monitoring of problems with Westhoughton’s CCTV cameras is set to resume.
The issue has been put on the agenda of Monday's meeting of Westhoughton Town Council by Cllr Phil Ashcroft after a report compiled on his request failed to provide “satisfactory” answers.
He asked for council leader Cllr David Chadwick to be consulted on CCTV when part-time town clerk Christine Morris is not at work to ensure faults are quickly addressed.
But this was rejected in a report presented to members at a meeting on March 31 because it would leave Cllr Chadwick susceptible to “corruption, bribery and malpractice”.
The report restated the fact that the only person able to sanction camera repairs is Ms Morris, who works 18 hours a week.
Cllr Ashcroft said: “The explanation in the report is not satisfactory. I would like to be directed to the law that says councillors doing this type of work would be illegal.
“This is political correctness gone mad and, unless we can make changes, the CCTV cameras are not providing value for money.” The issue came to prominence when four of the seven cameras in Market Street were not working at the time of an armed robbery at the Co-op on January 6.
The town council explained that the faults, some of which dated back nearly a month, had not been rectified due to the festive season and high winds.
Cllr Chadwick said: “I am told I cannot take over the role Cllr Ashcroft is asking for as we could be accused of favouritism. For a town the size of Westhoughton to have these cameras paid for by the council is fantastic. To have a full-time employee would significantly increase the town council’s budget.”
Discussions are also set to take place on appointing the town's next mayor to replace Cllr Christopher Peacock in May.
The arrangements for Westhoughton's World War One commemorative event will also be discussed.
The meeting starts at 7pm at Westhoughton Town Hall in Market Street.
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