Only four attend ‘historic’ first town council meeting
JUST four members of the public attended a ‘historic’ inaugural meeting of the shadow St Helier Town Council.
The panel was put together to run for 11 months with the aim of creating a permanent devolved authority in the capital. The council will effectively act as an extension of the roads committee and would aim to eventually take on devolved powers to deal with matters such as licensing, planning, approvals for outside events and parking, rather than the government and other public authorities.
However, at the first meeting of the group – which St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft described as a ‘historic meeting of this new body’ – only four members of the public turned up.
Mr Crowcroft issued a rallying call for councillors to make a strong claim to the government that the body is worthy of becoming a legal entity. He said: ‘I have written to Members about what we wish to achieve and we have 11 months to prove to the Government of Jersey that there is merit in this body being set up in a formal way.
‘It is a big task. Comments from the Council of Members and Members about an amendment I put forward on this were a combination of mistrust and misunderstanding, and Members don’t understand what we are trying to do.
‘Even our town Deputies are not sure about it so we have to convince them too.’
Other members of the new shadow body said it was not just about convincing the States Assembly but also the public, to try to get them engaged with what the panel are trying to do.
During the meeting initial discussions were about codes of conduct and standing orders, before members decided on different portfolios that will come under the new council.
Areas covered by portfolios will be environment, community services and public engagement, with the latter hotly debated in the meeting.
Members argued that a lot of work needed to be done to engage the public and get them interested in what the shadow body was going to do, with only a handful of people turning up to the first meeting.
'I'm sick to death of going completely around in a circle... we should be telling the public as soon as possible'
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