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Monday, 28 April 2014
Written by Nicola Reid

Talking Point: Does Bookham need an Elected Council

Talking Point: Does Bookham need an Elected Council

At last week's BRA AGM, Trevor Sokell of Bookham Vanguard kicked off the debate:  Does Bookham Need an Elected Council?

 He made the following points for consideration:

 The Bookham Vision Project made a number of proposals, but there is no community organisation with overall "Village" responsibility to ensure their implementation.  Is this a deficiency?

 Bookham Vanguard, if successful, will create a set of planning policies - who will make sure the policies are followed?  Do we rely on MVDC? Or should Bookham have an organisation with that statutory responsibility.

 The BRA is the closest we have to a village wide organisation.  It has served us well for many years.  However, it is totally volunteer based, membership is voluntary and not every household is a member (currently around 60%).  It is therefore not truly representative.  It has no statutory power and has limited financial resources.  Is it time to move on?

 Organisations such as the BRA, Bookham Vanguard, Bookham Vision and others show that the community cares and many people - with a wide range of skills and from across a good section of ages - are willing to get involved.  A Village or Community Council has statutory status, can be constituted to be apolotical and will be properly representative.

 Such a body would allow us to have a statutory say on future planning applications, raise significant funds and have more control over our destiny.  There would be a paid, trained professional dealing with most of the workload.  The Council could buy some assets  and develop them (e.g. Recreation grounds and Youth Centres) and assume responsibility for some services and improve them.

 Funds would be raised by way of a precept on the Council Tax.  If we assume £50pa for a Band D property (the South East average), £250,000 could be raised to make Bookham better.

 In summary, an elected council for Bookham would allow us to

 be properly democratic

take responsibility

have more control

raise funds to buy the things we should control

invest in community facilities ad activities

 Should we really continue without one?

Join the debate on Streetlife - https://www.streetlife.com/conversation/2qskig84syiqi/



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