Burntwood Town Council’s foray into amateur property development “probably a mistake” admits councillor
Former Burntwood Town Council leader Cllr Richard Mosson has admitted that it was probably a mistake for the Council to commit local taxpayers to a property development vanity project.
The Council offices moved from it’s convenient cost-effective location at Burntwood library to the Old Mining College Centre in 2015. Cllr Mosson said:
‘It was a great opportunity, what could possibly go wrong, signing up to a 35 year full repairing lease of a dilapidated building?’
A meeting of the Town Council’s policy and resources committee last week to considered plans to address the state of the building, including replacement of wooden framed sash windows at a cost of £20,000 and the relaying of floors. The total cost of repairs and refurbishments is currently estimated at over £55,000.
Paul Mycock, an officer in Lichfield District Council’s Legal, Property and Democratic Services department did not want to be identified. He said:
‘I can barely contain myself,’ he laughed, ‘even with the District Council’s resources and proven track record in successful property development projects, we could never make the Old Mining College commercially viable. But we were saddled with a 35 year full repairing lease from the landlord, Staffordshire County Council. We told them we wanted to surrender the lease and they said “fcuk off”.
‘Thinking that maybe they had been a little harsh, the CC came back to us to say that they would take a surrender but only if we could find some other mug to take it on on the same debilitating terms.
‘There was a knock on the door and who should be there but former Burntwood Town Councillor Steve Norman. And the rest, as they say, is history.’
The Town Council meeting considered various solutions to the dilemma. Cllr Sue Woodward suggested approaching the producers of DIY SOS or the Restoration Project. Unelected leader of the Council “Cllr” Norman Baker responded:
‘Don’t be so ridiculous Sue, after all it was you and your husband that got us into this mess. No, what I propose is that we spent £5,000 on flowers and a new lawn and introduce a mini crazy golf course. And we should invest in photo’s of Town Council Chairmen past and present to adorn the stairway and the charge local taxpayers who want to view. We could announce these innovative plans on a new £1,000 message board.
‘Sorted. Now where’s my cab? Has anyone seen Brian? The old fool.’
The Town Council’s plans can be seen HERE
The future of the £16,000-a-year luxury Jaguar XF chauffeur-driven car used by the chairman of Lichfield District Council was debated at a meeting of the Overlook not Scrutiny committee this week.
Labour group deputy leader-of-four, Councillor Eric Drinkwater said:
‘It’s crazy, it’s obscene.
‘Drink, feck, arse, girls Ted.’
Labour group leader-of-four, Councillor Sue Woodward agreed with the Labour group deputy leader-of- four, she said:
‘All four of us are agreed – whatever the former Labour group leader of more-than-four Steve Norman says, we agree with him. And why not, he thinks I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog. Grrr…
‘We need to look, I say we need to look, at the £50,000-plus a year spent on the civic budget, all the chain gang going dressed up and travelling in chauffeur-driven limousines, having these meals and getting pissed-up with each other – is there any really value?’
A former Lichfield District Council chairman has insisted a chauffeur-driven car is “absolutely essential”. Conservative Councillor David Leytham, who previously wore the chairman’s chains, said:
‘If the chairman is to continue the civic role and continue meeting, greeting and drinking heavily across the county and further afield, my view is that the car is absolutely essential, it’s driven by someone who remains sober and it’s comfortable to sleep in for short periods if necessary. Or overnight.’
Newly elected chairman Councillor Norma Bacon commented:
‘I’ve been looking forward to this for years and just when I’ve made it they’re trying to take away the perks. I’ve been a member of the chain gang for a number of years now, both as Lichfield mayor and bitch of the mayor. But I’ve never had use of the Jaguar XF before.
Conservative Councillor Thomas Marshall said there could be opportunities for a link up with local businesses to provide a suitable vehicle. He said:
‘The chairman’s husband Brian is a cabbie, we could link up with his firm TravelWood of Burntwood to supply the civic transport. Norma and Brian are joined at the hip anyway and the sight of Brian at the helm of a minivan calling to pick up Norma from the Dimbles would hardly raise an eyebrow.
‘But just imagine the sleek black Jaguar XF cruising through the streets of the downtown Zombie Zone. The XF may be the same make as PM David Cameron’s ministerial car but it’s not armoured, it wouldn’t stand a chance.’
Chairman Bacon concedes:
‘It’s horses for courses really, if I’m going to a civic function then the Jaguar XF is just the ticket.
‘But it’s a bit over the top for my gigs as a Roy”Chubby” Brown tribute act.’
Her Tory colleague, self-employed crop protection advisor Councillor Joseph Powell was keen to assure the meeting that chairmen and vice-chairmen were not merely using the vehicle as a perk.
‘It’s important that we make it clear that the car isn’t used for just having drinks and nice meals,’ explained.
‘We use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups. I recommend that we retain the civic transport but make it a little less hard and black and more pink and inviting.’
Councillor Powell is happily married. Mrs Powell declined to comment.
Anyone who is interested in Councillor Powell’s interests can see them here http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/downloads/file/4331/powell_joe