Westhoughton town councillors ask for change to 'ridiculous' law that prevents them monitoring CCTV

Westhoughton town councillors ask for change to 'ridiculous' law that prevents them monitoring CCTV

Westhoughton town councillors ask for change to 'ridiculous' law that prevents them monitoring CCTV

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

WESTHOUGHTON Town Council will appeal to parliament to change the law so members are freed from “ridiculous bureaucracy”.

Members are to contact Bolton West MP Julie Hilling to raise the issue in the House of Commons.

They will urge her to challenge constraints on their duties caused by sections of the Local Government Act 1972.

Cllr Phil Ashcroft said the law was preventing members “doing the right thing for the people of Westhoughton”.

The move comes after Cllr Ashcroft slammed the decision to throw out his proposed emergency measures to report CCTV faults in Westhoughton because it was “illegal”.

A report from part-time town clerk Christine Morris said only she could sanction repairs, and leader Cllr David Chadwick could not as he could be susceptible to “bribery, corruption or malpractice”. Cllr Ashcroft said it was “ridiculous” and that the law meant Ms Morris is “more important” than the elected leader of the council.

Cllr Christopher Peacock, a borough councillor for Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, tabled the motion to “escalate” the issue with the town’s MP, arguing the legislation has restricted the council’s options.

Cllr Ashcroft, who stressed his concerns did not reflect personally on the town clerk, said: “It is political correctness gone daft.”

Cllr Kevan Jones, for Westhoughton South, added: “I don’t see a problem with challenging the law where appropriate.”

The legislative restrictions on what work councillors can do applies to all local councils.

In tabling the motion, Cllr Peacock: “There is a fine line between good administration and over-bureaucracy.

“In this situation we could do with some ambiguity almost so we can find a solution to this problem that the legislation presents.” Westhoughton Town Council’s legal challenge follows a long-running debate into their processes for monitoring CCTV faults.

n The Bolton News revealed at the time of an armed robbery at the Co-op store in Market Street on January 6, that only four of the seven council-funded cameras were working. It emerged some of the faults dated back nearly a month and had not been addressed because of the festive season and “high winds”.

Ms Morris works only 18 hours a week — in her absence repairs cannot be sanctioned.

A debate on what emergency measures can be brought in to sanction CCTV repairs within the current legal framework will take place at the next council meeting on May 5 on the request of Cllr Ashcroft.

Comments (5)

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4:25pm Thu 17 Apr 14

steveG says...

If this debacle doesn't convince everyone that local councils are comical then nothing will.
If this debacle doesn't convince everyone that local councils are comical then nothing will. steveG
  • Score: 0

5:52pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Valiant One says...

Notice that an election is due next month
This is Tory Councillor Phil Ashcroft playing to the gallery and getting publicity for this nonsense. Have you ever seen this man in Westhoughton other than sneeking into the Council Chamber ? He and his mate Councillor Andy Morgan(who failed to retain his Town Council seat in 2010) by opportunistic efforts demean the good work done by Town Councils. I thought it was the Tories who supported localism.
Town Councils were hard fought for in the 1980s and give small towns a focuus and an identity which could have been destroyed when the Urban District Councils were abolished in the 1970s.
Notice that an election is due next month This is Tory Councillor Phil Ashcroft playing to the gallery and getting publicity for this nonsense. Have you ever seen this man in Westhoughton other than sneeking into the Council Chamber ? He and his mate Councillor Andy Morgan(who failed to retain his Town Council seat in 2010) by opportunistic efforts demean the good work done by Town Councils. I thought it was the Tories who supported localism. Town Councils were hard fought for in the 1980s and give small towns a focuus and an identity which could have been destroyed when the Urban District Councils were abolished in the 1970s. Valiant One
  • Score: 2

10:43pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Boltontoday says...

If ever anyone needed evidence that parish councils are a useless waste of taxpayer's money this is it. Close them down and save money now.
If ever anyone needed evidence that parish councils are a useless waste of taxpayer's money this is it. Close them down and save money now. Boltontoday
  • Score: -1

10:46pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Boltontoday says...

In the real world someone would just ring the town clerk at home and ask her to sanction the repairs. It's called incidental unpaid overtime. Today no job is 9 to 5.
In the real world someone would just ring the town clerk at home and ask her to sanction the repairs. It's called incidental unpaid overtime. Today no job is 9 to 5. Boltontoday
  • Score: 1

7:54am Fri 18 Apr 14

Valiant One says...

All are missing the point. The issue is that a broken camera couldn't be repaired because of high winds and the fact it was Christmas. This is a politically motivated debate led by a Tory cllr Ashcoft.
Afraid changing the law will neither stop high winds or identify where faults on the system lie. The system depends on electricity and telephone lines as well as the cameras themselves. Identifying the problem and getting it fixed over Christmas is surely the issue. Has this man never needed home repairs and experienced delays during holiday periods. Parliamentary intervention is not the answer.
All are missing the point. The issue is that a broken camera couldn't be repaired because of high winds and the fact it was Christmas. This is a politically motivated debate led by a Tory cllr Ashcoft. Afraid changing the law will neither stop high winds or identify where faults on the system lie. The system depends on electricity and telephone lines as well as the cameras themselves. Identifying the problem and getting it fixed over Christmas is surely the issue. Has this man never needed home repairs and experienced delays during holiday periods. Parliamentary intervention is not the answer. Valiant One
  • Score: 1

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