Election Eve: Cllr Barry Aspinell says "Time for a change from the disastrous and obnoxious Tory council"

May 21, 2014 2:22 PM

Cllr Barry Aspinell

Cllr Barry Aspinell

To all voters tomorrow, I would urge you please to support the candidate who is best placed to oust your local Conservative councillor, if you have one.

I say this, unashamedly, as I believe we have witnessed over the last few years the worst run council of which I have ever had the displeasure of being part.

For the benefit of Brentwood we must vote in an alternative option to the Tories.

I would like to address the myth that Conservatives are always better at looking after our money.

They have thrown away millions on idiotic ideas, ridiculous policies and schemes that have wasted thousands of hours of officer time and ultimately amounted to nothing.

Millions have been wasted on the William Hunter Way project because the Tories absolutely would not listen to any opposition alternative and kept their plans secret to themselves.

They hid from us, the residents, an alternative bid from Waitrose for that site which could have earned millions of pounds in capital and revenue income.

The High Street - fast approaching £10m for improvements. Was it worth it?

Over £5m of our money has been spent on agency and interim staff to replace those experienced, local knowledge based personnel that were made redundant, supposedly to save money.

Staff morale at the Town Hall is now at an all time low, and it shows.

Our accounts have, in the recent past, been a shambles and ridiculed the reputation of our council.

The auditors refused to sign them off, even though we had paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for two agency finance officers who completely cocked them up.

The attest financial farce, it seems, is the writing off of one complete set of figures relating to our valuation of council assets because nobody has bothered to get them updated for more than a decade.

It also appears we have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds of Section 106 monies from developers.

And now, the "savings" made by staff redundancies are being used to subsidise our daytime parking charges.

The Tories refused to consider the proposal by the Lib Dems of a night-time tariff which was aimed at gaining revenue from our TOWIE visitors and which would subsidise our day time parking charges.

So disastrous and obnoxious have the Tories been, that for the first time in my 32-year political tenure the entire opposition is united against them. The final straw was when they changed the rules and ousted the opposition chair of Overview & Scrutiny for daring to scrutinise them and hold them to their account - putting a Tory in to oversee the Tory administration!

Opposition councillors (Lib Dem, Labour, Brentwood First & Independent) celebrate their successful campaign (Back Row: Aspinell, Mynott, Davies, Le Surf, Morrissey & Lloyd. Front Row: Clark, Chilvers, Cohen, Keeble, Quirk, Sapwell & Clarke)

Opposition councillors (Lib Dem, Labour, Brentwood First & Independent) celebrate their successful campaign (Back Row: Aspinell, Mynott, Davies, Le Surf, Morrissey & Lloyd. Front Row: Clark, Chilvers, Cohen, Keeble, Quirk, Sapwell & Clarke)

Within the opposition councillors there is the talent, the initiative, the determination and a large chunk of professionalism to take over the reins and put Brentwood back where it should be, at the top of the best run council league table.

This would include building affordable homes for our local people, sorting out the effects of Crossrail, delivering the Local Development Plan, improving our recreational facilities, keeping Brentwood green and clean and reinvigorating out front line services by spending money on those areas you residents believe are key.

So please, vote for change tomorrow.