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Town Council Watch: June 2022

Live Streaming, Saturday Markets and Civic Award

Jimmy Young Published: 01 July 2022

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Town Council Watch

With just two items of new business on the agenda, June's full council meeting on Tuesday 8th June lasted 38 minutes in total.

Mayor Kevin Hurn (Con) returned to his seat to chair the meeting following his tight re-election to the post at the previous month’s meeting. A single member of the public attended the session.

No Updates on Town Coordinator Recruitment

Among the drier routine items such as internal audit results and ratification of previous minutes, there were some items of note.

Council Finance Officer Karen Chamberlain, deputising for the unwell Town Clerk, Trevor Gurney, was unable to provide a progress update on the recruitment of a Town Coordinator.

The role, which was originally proposed six months ago at December’s full council meeting, will eventually work to coordinate events and initiatives among the town’s businesses and residents, aimed at benefiting the local economy.

Live Streaming Equipment Purchase

It was a pleasing evening for resident Joe Barrett, who has campaigned on these pages for the Town Council to live stream their sessions online in order to improve accessibility to public meetings.

Cllr Suzanne Nuri-Nixon’s (Lib Dem) proposal for the council to acquire the necessary technical equipment to live stream sessions was adopted unanimously and will see £3000 of additional hardware added to the chamber in the council’s £2m headquarters at Kett’s Park.

Joe said: “After using the Equality Act to lobby our councillors to implement live-streaming, I am delighted to see the measures voted through. I look forward to watching future sessions alongside other townspeople who now have improved access to democracy.”

The move means residents will in future not have to rely on personal Facebook Live streams provided by Cllr Kim Carsok (Con) to stay informed - though precise details of the timeline for the first stream were not finalised as part of the proposal.

Proposing the measure, Cllr Nuri-Nixon said she hoped “councillors could get behind this so we can move into the 21st century” and pointed to the practice being increasingly common among other councils.

Joe Barrett

More camera-shy members expressed some personal ill-ease with the measures: Cllr Peter Broome (Con), said he had “resolved himself” to live streaming and conceded it was “inevitable”. While Cllr Robert Savage (Con) aired his concerns that being on camera may put off would-be candidates for public office.

All councillors ultimately voted to support the proposal.

Summer Saturday Markets To Go Ahead

Wymondham will have six new themed markets over the summer period, to be held on those Saturdays when a Farmers’ Market is not taking place. The first is due to take place on 23rd July.

According to the proposal’s wording, the yet-to-be-finalised themes would “avoid stalls which compete with established high street shops” and could cover art, crafts, antiques, wellness, clubs, environment, vintage, children/babies, and pets.

Discussions before the vote saw Cllr Kathryn Cross (Con) raise the topic of concessions for charitable organisations and Cllr Broome question whether the administration of the markets would in future fall under the remit of an incoming Town Coordinator.

The proposal from Cllr Carsok was unanimously adopted at the second time of asking, after its initial reading at May’s full council meeting faltered on technical aspects such as risk assessments, dates, and electrical requirements.

Janis Raynsford Nominated for Civic Award

One of the final pieces of business was nominations for the Town Council’s annual Civic Award. Cllr Tony Holden (Con) nominated Janis Raynsford for the award.

Acknowledging the nomination Mayor Hurn said: “Janis has been inspirational in looking after the Priory Gardens and Chandler’s Hill Gardens.” Mayor Hurn also praised her long-standing work with the Wymondham Heritage Society.

Political Switch

There was also some intrigue for political observers, with Cllr Penny Hubble moving to sit in the Conservative grouping, having switched allegiance from the Liberal Democrats. The defection takes the balance at Town Council to 11 Conservatives to 3 Liberal Democrats.

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