From Terry Byrne, Manor Road, Bexhill
So Rother District Council really want to know if we want a town council. Or do they? On Friday morning I eagerly clicked on the RDC home page and looked for the big obvious ‘Have Your Say’ or ‘click here to choose’ boxes. But guess what, they weren’t there.
What there was, was a picture of a keyboard with the headline ‘have you been affected by the business rates re-valuation?’. Then after a wait of ten seconds, the picture changed to a picture of a survey form and the words ‘Your Vote Matters”. Okay, I thought, this must be it, but no. Clicking on this picture took me to a page about the importance of the electoral register. So back to the front page and wait for the picture to change again. Next up was a picture showing a form with tick boxes and headed ‘Proposed changes to Rother’s validation list for public consultation’. Well I wasn’t too sure what a validation list was but the public consultation bit looked good to me so I clicked.
Wrong again , this time I was taken to a page about planning. By now I was losing the will to live but I thought I should give it one more try. Bingo! The next picture showed a rowdy public meeting and had the headline ‘Community Governance Review for Bexhill’, so I clicked. This time I was taken to a page headed ‘Community Governance Review Bexhill’. Great! I thought, where do I click on the option for a town council. By now I suppose I should have known that the answer would be ‘not here’. The page, all in small print, listed the four governance options and if you clicked on an option you were taken to another page explaining the implications of your choice, not that you had been able to make a choice so far. However the information was pretty comprehensive and useful if you knew little about Bexhill and hadn’t already formed an opinion.
Anyway, at last here it was, four lines from the bottom of the page, a link that you could click that took you to the voting page. Which, by the way, was obviously not written by RDC as it was clear, easy to use and in decent sized print. So, just how much do they want to hear from us? As the late Paul Daniels would have said ‘not a lot’. Having struggled my way through this process it seems clear to me that if you want a representative body that actively seeks your views, values your opinions and makes communication as easy as possible, then a town council is definitely the way to go.
From the Bexhill Observer, September 8th