December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 9, 2012
More than half of the borough’s 39 councillors have spent cash from a £78,000 fund to help constituents, council records shows.
All councillors have a £2,000 budget to spend on good causes in the wards they represent, but when the Mercury first reported this in September just nine had used their fund.
Now this number has swelled to 22, with cash spent on things including a new bus shelter, picnic tables and outings for schoolchildren.
Taxpayers have funded the £78,000 initiative, with cash creamed from the top of existing town hall budgets.
Council leader Trevor Wainwright explained: “Each councillor has a budget of £2,000 to spend in their wards to get things done quickly.
“It’s not extra money - it’s just been top-spliced off budgets.
“It’s a little amount of money but it can make a big difference to communities.”
Records seen by the Mercury on October 31 show 22 councillors have now made use of the cash, though it is possible more have used the money since then.
Ron Hanton and Bob Peck, councillors for Caister South ward, each spent £1,478.20 towards installing a new soakaway in the car park of the King George V playing field car park in Caister.
Colleen Walker, councillor for Claydon ward, put £600 towards a bus shelter in Trinity Avenue, Gorleston, and £400 towards the Gorleston’s Christmas lights switch on
She said Magdalen ward councillors Sylvia Pratt and Brian Walker have done exactly the same with their first £1,000.
Bernard Williamson, Claydon ward councillor, has given £200 towards the Gorleston Christmas lights switch on and £100 to help the community association at Claydon Pavilion.
But he said he will not spend all of the money yet, adding “I tend to keep mine back for anything urgent.”
Charles Reynolds, Ormesby ward councillor, spent £600 on various equipment at All Saints Parish Hall, and gave £400 to Ormesby St Michael Parish Council for a seating area.
Tony Blyth, Claydon ward councillor, has spent £500 on children’s outings for Wroughton Junior School, £250 on pensioners’ outings for Cherry Road Communal Room and £250 for the Young at Heart Group.
Michael Jeal, Nelson ward councillor, used £150 for bedding plants for the winter season to give to Artillery Square Residents Association and £100 for Peggotty Road Community Centre.
Barry Stone, Lothingland ward councillor, spent £1,891.66 on two outdoor picnic tables in the Bell Lane playing field in Belton.
John Burroughs, Gorleston ward councillor, gave £250 to Hospital Radio Yare and £500 to Gorleston ON Skater Hockey.
Marie Field, Central and Northgate ward councillor, indicated she has spent all £2,000 installing a litter bin in St Nicholas cemetery with the remainder given to the environment rangers.
And Shirley Weymouth, East Flegg ward councillor, has spent her full budget - with £1,320 on conservation for fishermen’s cottages in Newport, £182 to the Winterton Lifeboat Restoration Fund, £182 to Winterton Cricket Club, £200 to Winterton in Bloom and £116 to Somerton News.
Four of the nine councillors who had already spent cash on good causes in the last Mercury report have since spent more of their budgets.
Bert Collins, Gorleston ward councillor, has given £250 to Hospital Radio Yare and Yarmouth North councillors Colin Fox and Charles Marsden have each given £200 to the Newtown Community Centre.
Jim Shrimplin, Ormesby ward councillor, has spent £600 on various equipment for All Saints Parish Hall.
The remaining five councillors who spent money have not spent anything further since the Mercury’s report in September.
They are Mick Castle, Barry Coleman, Val Pettit, Lee Sutton and David Thompson - who has already spent all of his £2,000.
A total of 17 councillors have yet to spend any of their allotted £2,000 according to the database seen by the Mercury on Wednesday, October 31, though some indicated plans are “in the pipeline”.
Cash will not be carried over to next year’s fund if the scheme continues beyond the trial year.
The 17 councillors are: John Holmes, George Jermany, Kerry Robinson-Payne, Martin Plane, Graham Plant, Anthony Smith, Jamie Smith, James Tate, Mark Thompson, Hilary Wainwright, Barbara Wright, Barry Cunniffe, Mary Coleman, Marlene Fairhead, Penny Linden, Sue Hacon and council leader Trevor Wainwright.