Brightlingsea’s annual town meeting heard mayor Mick Barry deliver an upbeat message about the town’s community spirit, its “range and diversity” of events and the performance of his council.
The meeting, held on Thursday, March 24, in the Parish Hall, gives an opportunity for the mayor to report on the council’s activities over the past year and provides an open forum for residents to ask questions of town, district and county councillors.
“It’s been a very busy year for the town and myself as mayor,” said Cllr Barry, who said major events included the Platinum Jubilee, the civic service marking the death of the Queen and the proclamation of the accession of King Charles.
Following a critical report in 2022 about the governance of the council, Cllr Barry said its structure had been re-organised and that “councillors have embraced” the report’s recommendations. “The aim was to achieve openess and transparency,” he added.
Cllr Barry highlighted the number of events that take place in the town over the year. “We should all be really proud of the range and diversity of events in the town,” he said.
Council inititatives included the 20’s Plenty speeding campaign, a drive to reduce dog fouling, a new grass verges policy to provide habitat for bees and other wildlife, the revamp of the basketball court off Promenade Way, and promotion of the town at the Tendring Show.
Responding to a question about when the Bateman’s Café building might be finished – construction began over four years ago – Cllr Barry said that he was hoping for a definitive statement “at the end of the month”.
“We are looking for something to happen this year,” he said, adding that the incomplete building – which sits on town council-owned land – is a “reputational issue” for the town.
The meeting also heard that:
- The council received £192, 347 from council taxpayers – around £1.30 a week for a Band D household and about 3% out of every £1 charged
- The loss of facilities caused by the withdrawal of funding in January 2022 “has been a continuing source of dialogue and frustration”. The issue remains ongoing and will be raised with the new TDC administration following the May elections
- The Haven Leisure Village and issues arising from the new owners and application of TDC regulatory framework has required consistent input from district councillors throughout the year
- Although a new leasing regime has been introduced for district council-owned beach hut plots, Brightlingsea Town Council’s will continue to be licensed
- Of over 400 potholes – including damaged pavements – dealt with in county councillor Alan Goggin’s constituency of Brightlingsea, St. Osyth, Thorrington, Great Bentley and Alresford, more than half were in Brightlingsea.