Call to scrap “shameful” councillor pension scheme

19 May

NEW Lib Dems on North Somerset Council have slammed the councillor pension scheme as shameful and called for it to be scrapped.

The pension scheme, which was introduced by the Tories after the last election, has cost the council a massive £33,000 a year – money that goes straight into the pension pots of the 15 councillors who have signed up and is paid for by council taxpayers.

Group leader Cllr Mike Bell said: “While the rest of North Somerset is having to face cuts on a daily basis, I don’t know how any councillor can sleep at night while they’re claiming even more money through a shameful pension scheme.

“We haven’t forgotten how Tory councillors put their own pay up massively and launched a pension scheme for councillors – it was greedy at a time when the rest of the country was struggling and the struggle is only getting worse.

“Now we’re facing massive cuts across all departments, yet they’re still pocketing the extra money.

“Those that signed up to the scheme should do the honourable thing and back out.”

The call for councillor pensions to go comes as councillors look at ways to reduce the amount they cost the council, such as reducing the number of executive members, cutting travel allowance, having fewer area committees and taking £5,000 out of the chairman’s budget.

New Lib Dems call for common sense Trop plan

17 May

NEW Lib Dem councillors on North Somerset Council have called for a common sense Tropicana plan at their first meeting.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Mike Bell asked councillors to support a plan for a covered pool on the Tropicana site paid for by North Somerset Council and Weston Town Council plus support from a small business development.

Under the plan, once the Tropicana was finished it would be handed over to Weston Town Council to continue to run and pay for in future.

The council met on Tuesday evening at Weston Town Hall for the first meeting of the new members since the election.

Cllr Bell, who represents Weston Central Ward, said: “We would be looking to spend about £10m+ which would be partly funded by the private sector development and the remainder from borrowing by both councils

It’s a common sense plan which people have been asking for. Large scale schemes keep failing, asking for the same thing yet again isn’t going to work. Now is the time to listen to what the people of Weston have been asking for.

Once it’s built, if the councillors from the north still object to paying for what would be a fantastic facility, give it to Weston Town Council, where councillors have our town at the top of their agenda.”

The proposal reads:

“That this Council proposes the building of a modern, publicly funded, covered water leisure facility on the Tropicana site; it should be built and operated by a combination of this Council and Weston-super-Mare Town Council finance, with appropriate small-scale on-site development in partnership with the local business community and that officers be requested to make arrangements for further reports to be submitted on the proposed implementation of this scheme.”

Important role for local councillor

10 May

Weston-super-Mare Central Ward Councillor Mike Bell has been elected as Leader of the six-strong Liberal Democrat Group on North Somerset Council following their AGM.

He is joined by Weston-super-Mare West Ward Councillor Mark Canniford, who has been elected as Deputy Leader of the Group.

The Liberal Democrat Group increased in size at the recent elections following five gains from the Conservatives in Weston Central and Weston West wards.

Mike Bell said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to lead the Lib Dem Group. There are more opposition councillors on North Somerset Council following the elections, but the Conservatives remain firmly in charge.

“Our Group will be looking to provide constructive opposition at the Town Hall, challenging the Conservatives strongly where we disagree and providing support where we do not.”

Thank you!

7 May
Mike, Clare and Holly would like to say thank you to Weston Central residents for the support they were given at the North Somerset Council  and Westo Town Council elections held on the May 5th.
 
Mike and Clare were elected onto North Somerset Council to represent Weston Central Ward. Clare and Holly were elected onto Weston Town Council representing Weston Central Ward and Mike was elected onto the Town Council representing Ellenborough Ward.

Costa Coffee in the High Street

26 Feb

Costa Coffee wants to open a new outlet in the former Burtons shop in Weston High Street.

This is bad news for the many local independent coffee shops and cafes, but worse means a key shop on our High Street will be lost to retail.

We need more big name retailers in Weston to attract visitors and shoppers. The loss of this key site would be a setback for this effort.

You can help to support local businesses and keep retail on this important site by objecting online on North Somerset Council’s planning portal at http://bit.ly/ew0ZBc

Listening

5 Feb

Clare, Holly and I had a good afternoon calling on residents in the town centre today to talk about local issues.

We’ve now got a long list of things to tackle. Thanks to everyone who gave us such a warm welcome.

If you want to let us know about any issue or if you have a question or comment, please drop us an email: mike@mikebell.org.uk

Parking fees up

4 Feb

Conservative run North Somerset Council has again increased off-street parking charges above inflation. Charges will rise by 10% on average and by as much as 25% in some places like the seafront.

Town centre residents have enough to put up with with parking chaos everywhere. The council is making matters worse by charging more and more for off-street spaces. Our clogged streets will get even more clogged.