Here’s a message from Paul Follows Leader of Godalming Town Council, who may have thrown a damp squib into the Town’s forthcoming bonfire night celebrations?
Many if you will have heard by now that the Town Council has voted to cancel this year’s fireworks.
As the leader of the town council, I think I need to weigh in (and of course take the responsibility for the decision we have taken).
This is why we cancelled them:
1- it not only makes a financial loss each time but a growing one. The previous administration accepted that loss growing 3 years in a row and did not act. We have.
WW – likes decisive.
2 – the cost in money is dwarfed by the amount of officers time required to run it.
WW – you mean officers of the council organise the event? Why? When in every other town and village locals clubs and organisations like the Lions, and the Round Table are the organisers?
3 – new councils have new priorities and I would rather provide long term deliverables than essentially setting fire to money for one night.
WW – Hear, hear. Ever heard the one about Waverley Borough Council’s Chief Executive Cllr Follows? You know the one called`Mrs. Mop who famously used £10,000 of the taxpayers’ money so she could press the plunger and light up the night sky at a pop concert in Bramley? Those were the days my friend when ‘Your Waverley had money to burn!
4 – I wish the ongoing cuts to youth, social and children’s services got this much outcry then perhaps people might not vote for governments bringing austerity.
WW An outcry? By whom? Build your own bonfire Godalming residents – get out there, raise the funds among yourselves like everyone else in the borough. Farnham’s Round Table do it over here and so does the Farnham Rugby Club.
5 – Vulnerable people, pets, the environmental impact were also all discussed as considerations on this decision.
WW – Too bloody true. Among our team of keyboard warriors there are seven dogs, and three cats, who have to be stuffed in the wardrobe every Guy Fawkes Night, and then shiver for days afterward.
Although we would not seek to recreate the loss elsewhere, I do believe this action would free up some funding. As a starter for 10 our youth services working group could get some funds to start really thinking about projects for young people and in regards to anti-social behaviour.
WW Just a thought – hows about getting the little erks organising next year’s bonfire, instead of setting fire to their fags or anything else!?! You could even give them a few quid as a start-up fund?
So I just want to say – I’m being upfront that we have done this, and why. It was a difficult decision and long-debated but you didn’t elect me to shy away from difficult choices.
WW – Spot on – we elected you to make difficult decisions, act decisively in the interests of Godalming residents. because it is OUR money you are sending up in smoke.
Paul Follows Happy to discuss as always.
PS. I’m a Godalming resident too, I also really loved going to the Fireworks. I also very much regret we had to take this decision. But that is the situation we are in. Ultimately- I’m here telling you about this (I don’t think many of the previous leaders or councillors would have done that). I’ll take the flack, that’s my job.
WW doesn’t think that the previous ‘Gutless of Godalming’ would have either made the decision or taken the flack. But just duck – and perhaps put our post up in the hope that local groups or organizations step up to the mark and pick up our challenge. After all lighting fires is not a corporate responsibility of a council – is it? Because if it is – tell all the other parish and town councils in the borough.
Godalming Conservative Councillor Steve Cosser lit the touch paper on the Lib dem coalition town council’s decision to cancel the fireworks funding by posting a rant on the Godalming Community Facebook Page.