Public won’t abide Mayoral chain spend say Ottery cllrs

Spending �1,500 in times of austerity on a new ceremonial chain for the mayor would ‘provoke a backlash’ said an Ottery councillor.

The disagreement over the town council’s spending priorities broke out at a meeting last week when Deputy Mayor Ian Holmes proposed they look at buying a new mayoral chain of office for Ottery Town Council.

He argued the chain which Mayor Glyn Dobson currently wears was hopelessly out of date, and it was embarrassing for a forward-thinking council such as Ottery.

The mayor agreed, saying its scruffy nature was often mentioned to him at civic events, adding: “We have probably the worst chain in the district.”

But when it was revealed the total cost of providing a replacement would be up to �1,500 other councillors were not so keen.

Councillor Roger Giles said with cuts to library services, the highways budget, young people’s services and elsewhere, spending money on a new mayoral chain sent out the wrong message.

Cllr Claire Wright said local people would not be pleased with funds from the public purse being used on a new chain for the mayor. She said to Glyn: “I do think you are an excellent mayor but I think it would be the wrong idea.

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“There are so many more important things than spending money on this.”

She said she accepted it is nearly 40 years out of date but said this conversation would be more appropriate in more affluent times.

Cllr Paul Carter asked if the council could defer the vote so they could get estimates got a replacement chain, and Councillor Robin Mitchell suggested they look at refurbishing the existing chain to save costs.

But Cllr Giles said this was only ‘prolonging the agony’ and proposed the council take no further action on replacing the chain.

The mayor then proposed an alternative idea; a small working party should take a look at potential costs and report back to the council next month,

The mayor’s motion defeated Cllr Giles’ by six votes to five, so the council will vote next month on whether to spend on a replacement chain of office.

Do you think Ottery Town Council should spend money on a replacement Mayoral Chain of Office? Have your say below or on Twitter @SidmouthHerald