Newton Abbot town centre manager Sally Henley has blasted Teignbridge Council’s decision to stop funding the CCTV service run in the town from spring next year and has accused them of using play ground antics.
The district authority’s Executive made the decision last month, but it was halted after a call in and was discussed further at its overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday.
And members also pressed ahead with plans to dispose of half of its public loos in the district.
The CCTV call in, put forward by David Corney-Walker, was to freeze the proposals for a year for a consultation.
But members voted to stick to proposals to stop funding the service- in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey and Dawlish- and for another organisation to take on running the camera hub.
The council says that its cuts come because of a squeezing budget.
Miss Henley said she was completely ‘appalled’ at the council’s decision on CCTV.
“An important decision affecting the largest town in Teignbridge has been made by councillors whose individual motivation seems to come less from the need to cut costs and more from a desire to ensure that Newton Abbot does not receive funding from TDC for facilities, which other smaller towns might not have,” she said.
Miss Henley said she was shocked that TDC’s free Sunday parking policy in Newton Abbot was brought into the debate.
“This is not the way to run a district and Teignbridge council tax payers deserve better. I expect this sort of behaviour in a primary school play ground, when the subject in question relates to who had it first, or whose conker is the biggest, but certainly not at this level of local government.”
At the meeting Tom Hurst, chairman of Newton Abbot Business Security Group, presented 1,250 signatures from residents against the proposed CCTV cuts.
“I’m very disappointed with the result and I think it’s very narrow minded of the council,” he said.
“We have put forward an offer of running the service under the umbrella of a Trust and we hope the will take that up. We’ll fight on.”
The Trust is made up David Austin of department store Austins, architect Jeremy Newcombe, Newton Abbot Chamber of trade and NABS.
Leader, Cllr Jeremy Christophers said at the meeting that other towns run their own CCTV and stated that it was not a statutory service.
“I don’t there will be gun touting residents walking around Newton Abbot any time soon,” said Cllr Christophers.
Cllr Kevin Lake said that it was an ‘emotive’ subject.
“We’re not looking at closing it, we’re looking at a reputable group carrying it on in the spirit of localism,” he said.
Cllr Lake said it was a difficult decision and but stated that now even the police don’t see CCTV as a priority.
Yet it was noted by Cllr Jackie Brodie that the CCTV team provides ‘one evidence package’ a day to the police.
Cllr Sylvia Russell prised the volunteer led CCTV service in Teignmouth and said plans are a foot to expand it.
She also said Newton Abbot already has perks such as free Sunday parking.
Cllr Alan Connett was the mover of the call-in over the councils plans to close or transfer the ownership 17 of its toilet sites.
A reason for the call in was that the Executive has not considered other options to reduces costs within the council and there is limited information on the costs and timings of the transfers/closures.
“I’m sympathetic of ways to save money but we must look at ways of the council reducing costs and not services. I want a proper debate,” said the councillor
In response, Cllr Kevin Lake said the district authority was thinking ahead of ‘a funding abyss’.
“Our aim is to secure TDC’s financial security,” he said.
He said the council is not initially closing the toilets and will offer them to parish councils to take them on and there would be an eight week consultation period.
It was stated that the council had looked at charging people to ‘spend a penny’ but it didn’t prove cost effective.
Cllr Ted Hockin was concerned that toilets closures in Dawlish Warren could turn off tourists.
This was echoed by Cllr Vince Fusco who said people would be forced bring a pot and toilet paper with them to the district and held up a roll in the council chamber.
“It’s nail in the coffin,” he said.
Member voted and decided to continue with the Executive’s proposals.