Residents and council in the dark over street lights decision
Filton town council were left bemused last night as they were informed that South Glos council have voted unanimously to press ahead with switching off street lighting in Filton.
Six months ago, a representative from South Glos presented to Filton Parish council that a plan to switch off street lighting in Filton was on the cards but Filton councillors voted at the time to reject the idea and sent a letter outlining their objections.
At a council meeting held for the first time in Bethany Gospel hall, Conygre ward, South Glos labour councillor Roger Hutchinson informed the attending public and council that he had voted to approve the switching off of lights in the area.
Councillors were left bemused at the news and promptly responded by expressing their deep disappointment at the decision.
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Residents were left angry and demanded to know why a councillor would go against his constituents and the parish council on such a critical decision for the area especially following a clear remit.
The explanation they received from councillor Hutchinson was he had to take into consideration the whole of the area and not just Filton, but residents responded by making it clear he served Filton and was elected to do so.
Councillor Melanie Drewitt said she was very disappointed by the news and that as Filton was a prioirty neighbourhood and has an elderly population, this needed to be taken into account.Councillor Bill Moore echoed this view as did Conseravtive councillors Rikki Teml and Kieran Hyde.
Parish councillors made it clear they would be inviting South Glos to a future meeting to go over the proposal.
Residents who attended the meeting for the first time due to the new location, raised issues regarding the cost of council tax they pay, yet felt Filton has been left behind with traffic chaos, poor maintenance of roads and the need to constantly take up the cause instead of receiving support from their local representatives who it was claimed receive "Nice allowances" to do so.
Many were concerned regarding other issues such as Filton airfield, increased student lets and failure to address issues which have been ongoing for months.
Double taxation of residents was a hot topic with residents demanding to know why they still pay more in council tax than any other area within South Glos. Adam Monk, labour chair of council said he was unable to answer the question but would find out.
Councillor Ian Scott took the opportunity to launch an attack on the Tories and Lib Dems in their approach to local issues however was promptly told by council that parish council meetings were not the place for "political party broadcasts". He was asked to refrain from this approach in future by councillor Bill Moore and others.
The opportunity for elderly residents to attend the meeting in Conygre was a huge success and one which the council promised to repeat in the near future
Labour town councillor and chair of labour branch Brian Mead, was asked to remove three agenda items due to failing to submit supporting documentation but told the public he refused to provide anything and would simply submit the same information next month. Chair Adam Monk said as a result of his comments the items would not be allowed to remain on the agenda.
After the meeting public feedback was positive regarding the location. The next meeting will return to Elm Park Pavilion next month.