Like the ‘Vicar of Dibley’ - Tipton resident hits out at proposal to move meeting

Tipton St John. Ref edr 20 18TI 3441. Picture: Terry Ife

Tipton St John. Ref edr 20 18TI 3441. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Proposals to stop holding council meetings in Tipton St John came under fire from a member of the public who labelled the idea as a storyline seen out of The Vicar of Dibley.

Ottery Town Council hosts a meeting once a year in the village but at last month’s meeting ward member Councillor Lyn Harding expressed her thoughts that it was a waste of council funds due to the lack of public attendance.

Last month, members voted for ward members to put an article in the Tipton Times asking residents for their thoughts and will make a decision after local elections next year.

Speaking at a town council meeting on November 6, resident David Boyle said like the council in the comedy The Vicar of Dibley there were ‘well intentioned but sometimes misguided councillors’ and that the proposal was ‘fundamentally flawed’ when the cost of the hall was less than £30.

He challenged the council and Cllr Harding to step forward and admit the proposal was a mistake and withdraw it.

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Mr Boyle said: “It would make a good story line for television but in the real world it doesn’t make sense. I think the council is sending the wrong message to the community that it’s just not convenient for the councillors to meet at Tipton because only two or three residents attend. Maybe the council should interpret low attendance as a job well done without causing any major issues rather than a failure to attract a wider interest from the public.”

Cllr Harding said meetings required more technology which was only easily accessible in Ottery and residents she had spoken to had said meetings were ‘boring’ and not ‘relevant’ to the village.

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Cllr Harding told the meeting: “To compare what is offered and expected today against a TV show from the early 90s shows little understanding for the work and belittles the efforts of the council. Should we have meeting in Tipton St John? Yes, but only if there is an issue that is covered in the ward. This would also apply for the north ward and should be used if an issue arises in our villages.”

Cllr Roger Giles stressed it was important to represent all of the parishes.

Members said they will continue to consult before making a decision next May.

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