Press Release on State of the Borough debate - 27th July 2006

July 28, 2006 12:00 PM

Cllr. Steve Kulka, as Lib Dem Group Leader, was asked by Reigate and Banstead Council to make a short speech during the Councils State of the Borough debate at a full meeting of the council.

His tack was to report feedback from residents on popular issues.

The leader of the council, Joan Spiers and other members of the executive, always say that she encourages back benchers to take an active role. Nevertheless, whenever anyone voices the slightest criticism of council decisions, she rants about councillors who should keep quiet if they don't have anything positive to say.

When other councillors complained that they aren't kept informed, she yells "why should you be, you aren't part of the administration".

It is the role of opposition members on any council, to monitor the actions of those in control and point out any mistakes.

During his speech, Cllr. Kulka pointed out some fundamental errors in the council designed, Lottery funded make over plan for Reigate Priory Park. There will be a new kiddies water feature to replace the one that the Council 'filled in' a couple of years ago. This is designed to run straight from mains water. This means that if we have another hot summer, there's a good chance that it'll be turned off.

The Leader of the Council declared that "that would be stupid" and if they turned it off, she would "go up there and turn it back on". An irresponsible suggestion that does not set a good example during water shortages.

He also highlighted the fact that the trees that provide well needed shade for the children in the playground of Reigate Priory School, were to be felled because they aren't pretty enough.

Another mistake was not to support the Reigate Summer Music Festival. This is a great cultural event and has traditionally brought large numbers of people to Reigate, which is a huge benefit to local businesses.

Another continuing complaint from residents is the state of the roads. They cannot understand how 'our Borough Conservatives' constantly fail to influence the County Conservatives who run the highways. The Leader mentioned that she had written a letter to the leader of Surrey County Council and that it had taken him nearly two months to respond, with no positive action planned.

Ending on a positive note, Cllr. Kulka was pleased that after years of the local Lib Dems campaigning for plastic recycling, the council had finally provided some plastic collection bins. What really needs to happen, as they have been calling for, is that plastic and glass should be collected from the doorstep, with all other household waste.