Tuesday 27 February 2024
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‘Tens of thousands of pounds’ of Rushcliffe taxpayers’ money spent on Bingham Town Council’s problems

The leader of a local council said it was an ‘absolute disgrace’ that problems at Bingham Town Council led to thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ cash being ‘wasted’.

A report looking at Bingham Town Council found that recent years have been “damaging and expensive” and have “stained” the authority’s reputation.

Dozens of complaints about the council’s conduct were made before a petition called ‘Bingham Deserves Better’ was presented to Rushcliffe Borough Council, who decided to set up an Improvement Board, which has recently published its damning findings.

The report stated that councillors’ “attitudes and behaviours are the overriding issue to the resolution of the problems”.

It comes after two councillors, Francis Purdue-Horan and John Stockwood, were found to have breached Bingham Town Council’s member code of conduct and both were expelled from the Conservative party.

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Simon Robinson, Leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council (Con) discussed the issues during the council’s full meeting on July 7.

He said: “Some of the findings that came out of that report made very disappointing reading.

“It showed the lack of perspective, too much political control, lack of openness and inclusiveness, poor behaviour and the disregard for the council’s code of conduct.

“For me, there are two observations. The consequences of the behaviour of Bingham Town Council is the lack of focus on delivering for the community and especially the need there for the car park.

“All the focus, energy and time has gone on internal issues and that is really let the community down.

“Secondly, the financial cost of this whole exercise. Tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money, wasted on HR advice, legal advice, the Improvement Board, and officers’ time.

“At a time when every council is trying to save money, tens of thousands of pounds has gone onto this and I think that is an absolute disgrace.

“Moving forward, the report does give very clear and tangible recommendations.”

The Improvement Board report stated that around £4.35 per head has been spent by Bingham Town Council for each of their local electors on reviews and legal advice as a result of the problems.

Some councillors have also resigned before their term of office has finished – which is also costly at £6,000 per resulting election.

Councillor Jen Walker (Lab) added: “It’s good to see democracy returning to the residents of Bingham. We really hope we start to see the return of decency and integrity to how politics is run there.”

Councillors unanimously approved the recommendations to accept the Improvement Board’s report and to receive an update on Bingham Town Council’s progress in six months’ time.

Bingham Town Council said in a recent statement addressing the controversy and board’s findings: “Bingham Town Council accepted the Improvement Board Report at its annual meeting held on 24 May 2022 and agreed to move forward with implementing the action plan.”

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