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countering the spin and providing the balance


Being Positive No 2

Being Positive No 2counterbalance is often accused of being entirely negative in its reaction to Fylde Council. Whilst we have broad shoulders, we think that view is a bit unfair, its just that the present administration mostly keep getting it wrong (because they don't seem to understand what their real job should be). However, from time to time we see a sparkling light breaking through the gloom, and we're happy to report we've seen a few of them in recent times.

The first was mostly down to Cllr Janine Owen, the Deputy Mayor. She organised the 'Fylde's Got Talent' show at Lowther Pavilion recently.

Now, to be honest, this is not really our sort of thing, and we didn't go to it. But that shouldn't detract from the terrific amount of hard work we know Cllr Mrs Owen will have put in to this show, and the big success that it was.

We congratulate her on setting up a community-building event that caught the imagination of many and raised funds for charity in the process. First class. Just the sort of thing a Councillor can do so well. And she did.

Tied in with this is the way that, for the most part, the Mayor, Cllr Susan Fazackerley has treated her tenure of the Mayoralty.

She too has raised money for local charities with practical, thoughtful and innovative events that should commend her year as one to remember.

She began her Mayoral year with good intent and a stern warning about working together. It is clear she has tried (often, it seemed, against the odds) to be fair to all speakers and not to bow too far to pressure from the leadership. Whether she was successful in this or not is for individuals to decide, but her attempt as even-handedness is to be commended. She has been a Mayor to do Fylde credit, and we salute her for it.

Thirdly are the Planning (more properly Development Control) Committee who recently refused a planning application for housing close to the Airport on Westgate. An eminently sensible decision and one that might now persuade the applicant to realise this is the wrong place to put houses.

We hope the development Control Committee will go on in this vein with other, similar sites in the vicinity of the Airport.

Fourthly - and this might be difficult for some of our readers to follow given the number of times we criticise Fylde's spending - we praise the work of Bernard Hayes, Fylde's finance officer.

He took on a completely disastrous set of accounts when he came, got a grip on them, and is putting them into order.

He had to persuade the Commissar to face up to the need for radical financial surgery to make the books balance when he came. That was always going to be difficult and painful, (and it still is today as we will show in a forthcoming article).

However, it's only now that his work is demonstrating some semblance of order has been restored.

That's not to say the Council's spending plans or decisions are any better (mostly they aren't), and the coffers are still all-but empty, but Mr Hayes doesn't make decisions on what the money is spent on or when it is spent.

He just keeps the books so those with the authority to spend can  see where they are up to, and in our case, how bad things really are.

And he's doing an impressive job.

Finally for this occasion, we record thanks to the people that run Fylde's website and audio/visual department. Thanks to them, you can watch Politburo Cabinet and Council meetings via recorded webcasts, and read the reports and agendas for almost all meetings online.

While there is always room for improvement, Fylde's website was established before most district councils, and has grown and developed well. Once you get the hang of its layout logic, it becomes a very useful source of information.

Dated:  13 February 2009


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