I used to believe sincerely in the power of local democracy, so much so that I became a Parish Councillor.
But after only a very short time I realised that the ego’s of the few were ruining the lives of the many and despite my protestations, anger and frustration there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. From the inside.
I therefore resigned and decided to launch this website to let you know what your local council is doing with your money, to your village, in your name.
To many, Parish Council’s are dull and powerless and whilst they are certainly the former they are definitely not the latter, and thanks to the Localism Bill their range of influence considers to grow.
Sadly the aptitude of those that wield that power does not grow at the same rate.
On yourlocalcouncil.org I will be bringing you an alternative view of how – in the first instance – Batheaston Parish Council works and how it attempts to hide those workings from you.
I resigned (see next posting for my resignation letter) because my colleagues preferred to work in private, shying away from publicising any of their machinations – with one possible exception – the bridge (more of that later).
They have not told you about the character assessment they carried out on behalf of B&NES, they have not told you about their plans to move the football pitch to the (oft flooded) water meadows; they have not told you about their plans to take over the toilet block in the car park; they have not told you about their plans to spend up to £50,000 on the pavement outside the shops without going out to tender.
We will also tell you about your council chairman writing in his official capacity to support yet another judicial review of the village hall plan, despite this not being sanctioned by the council and therefore not appearing on any council minutes.
But more of all this later.
On this site we hope to make you aware of just what is being done in your name. Watch this space, subscribe for updates and check back often.

Resignation Letter

Last December I became just one of four councillors – two elected and two co-opted – who stood down from Batheaston Parish Council.

I cannot speak on behalf of the others, but this was the letter I sent to my colleagues to explain why:

Dear all,

It is with a heavy heart that I proffer my resignation as a Batheaston Parish Councillor.

When I joined the Parish Council – sadly without the benefit of an election – I honestly thought that I could help make a difference, but it was not to be.

I have watched and listened in amazement at the council’s apparent disregard for the electorate it is meant to serve, choosing to keep decisions close and avoiding any form of meaningful communication.

I thought when I joined and offered to set up the council’s representation on Facebook and Twitter that the reluctance I encountered was more as a result of ignorance than of not wishing to tell people what was going on.

But the Parish Council has chosen not to communicate and didn’t even mention its opposition to the Village Hall, missing an opportunity to put it in the Parish bulletin.

More recently, having agreed to host a public meeting to make residents aware of B&NES recommended sites for more housing in the village, the council then shied away and decided to leave it until B&NES announced it themselves later this year.

In fact I cannot think of any occasion when the council has taken advantage of the agenda item to issue a press release.

The bridge may well be an exception.

On several occasions I have been told that the proposal to move the football field has been discussed with the football team, but each time I have approached the captain of the team he maintains no such consultation has taken place.

Democracy is accountable and needs to be reported on to make it so.

Finally I have read in amazement the minutes of several meetings that I have attended and recollect in a completely different way to those recorded.

Trying to get them changed is also a complete waste of time, serving only to cause an unhealthy closing of ranks between the clerk and the chairman.

None of this can be allowed to go on unrecorded. The people of Batheaston really need to know what is being done on their behalf and to that end I intend to publicise the machinations of this council – good and bad.

It may well be that you will see more of me, rather than less, as a result, but if I were to remain a parish councillor I would be bound by your rules, your interpretation of register of interests etc.

This way, I will write about what I see and what I hear and will not be answerable to this council’s flawed and seemingly unaccountable “democratic process”.


David Gledhill
The Batch


13 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Not all parish councils are as closed as yours appears to be. Here in West Sussex, our parish council is open, transparent and aggressive, in support of the issues that our residents find important. We fight on their behalf, we seek their comments and every parish council meeting has an hour allocated to public questions.
    We do not hide our deliberations and we are very happy to recognise the fact that we simply serve the community.
    Shame your parish council does not do the same.

    Tangmere Parish Council

    ps. We have a vacancy.. would you like to join us?

  2. Thank you David at long last someone who has the courage to speak out about our parish council who seems to have forgotten they represent the community not themselves and their own agenda.

    Best of luck

  3. It must not be forgotten that some Parish councillors have consistently voted in favour of the New Village Hall project but of course we only have 1 vote each so it does not always go the way we would like. It was interesting at the hustings , that all the candidates thought that the centre of Batheaston was where St.Johns Church,the church hall and the school were and they were all in favour of the New Village Hall. Leaving the football pitch where it is the right choice.

    Well done David for starting this forum it should prove informative and interesting!

  4. If the parish council only listens to certain of its own elderly members how are we to have any effect that benefits the community at large?
    To my mind the major concern to most people is the delay to the new village/church hall. Patsy Townsend must be turning in her grave at the length of time it is taking to ‘spend’ her money, which must be loosing value every day, unless the council have deposited it in a dodgy Icelandic Bank or the equivalent.
    How can we create some urgency?

  5. Well done David on setting up this blog finally somewhere where the people of Batheaston can have an honest open opinion as to what’s right for our village. I lost faith years ago in the local council, where many seem to me only to be on the council to look after their own interests. It is disgraceful that changes to our village that are paid for with our rates are not openly discussed with those that are affected. I look forward to future postings

  6. this village needs waking up…. forget bridges over flooded fields think of the people that live here, narrow streets & roads not good for parking, difficult passage for Buses…too many commercial vehicles parking overnight…………

    • Gordon I agree with most of what you say, but a large proportion of the commercial vehicles parking overnight are resident transport to and from work so I see no reason why they should not be able to park near or outside their house.
      All the best Steve

  7. It would be great to find out why work on the new cycle/footpath across the meadows has stopped. Can anyone shed some light on this?
    Lovely to have a forum for the residents of the area at last, doesn’t surprise me that the parish council has compromised itself.

  8. The latest news on village hall shenanigans is shocking to say the least and I for one am disgusted by what appears to be nothing more than an effort to scupper a planning process which has patiently and democratically been followed to achieve planning permission by others.

    Because if this were not the case then BCH SVG would surely have presented much more than the vague outline proposal I saw at the hall on Thursday.

    I also wonder if the vagueness was a result of budget restrictions and what WPG have cost the private and possibly even reclusive BCH SVG so far. Which leads to the questions who and why BCH SVG?

    Neither can I figure out why anyone responsible for it would think a breach of the Data Protection Act would win them any support.

  9. ‘Dave’ – I find this blog offers interesting and hopefully informative reading. However, I wish to make a small observation, especially as much of the current subject matter revolves around ‘openness of communication’, ‘transparency’ and the like.

    While some people may be familiar with you from your service on the Parish Council, your blog does not identify you concretely as far as I can tell – perhaps I missed something. All I have I found is a reference to your first name in a comment. I wouldn’t mind your use of pseudonym if that offered some sense of ‘security’ from the screaming masses, but you are naming individuals and commenters identities are revealed as well, so in the spirit of fairness, shouldn’t you have an identity as well?

    I look forward to future updates as they may help shape a ‘balanced’ view of what’s happening behind the scenes in Batheaston. In the end, it would be wonderful to have a community where trust, understanding and mutual respect prevail.

    • Fair comment indeed. I have added my name to my resignation letter on the welcome page as I have nothing to hide – David Gledhill, The Batch.

  10. Hi David!

    This is fantastic and a very welcome, proactive and informative service. It helps deter all the subterfuge, secrecy and undercurrents within the BPC. Interesting to read in the new Village Bulletin about the B&NES confidential negotiations on planning proposals too….

    Thank you for all you do! Keep us posted.


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