Buttercross, April 10, 2015: Where are the new faces for Swaffham council?

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Many who read these articles will know I have had quite a bit to say lately about the need to get some “freshness” onto our Town Council.

Our current Mayor, Shirley Matthews, to her credit, put out a plea recently for new candidates to stand for election but, if rumours are to be believed, it seems that plea fell on deaf ears.

We may have a new council comprised mainly of those people that have just left office. From this, one can only come to so many conclusions.

Maybe residents are content with our present councillors, or maybe people who considered standing felt they were not likely to be able to work, as they saw it, with the majority of “sitting” councillors returning once again.

Should enough “new faces” have stood for election, then to be elected, more progress perhaps could have been made in getting our town off its knees in so many respects.

It is known, for example, that the old planning sub committee very rarely met, with only two councillors reporting their opinions on planning matters to the full council, who in turn get a very “late “ look at planning applications before meetings commenced .

Many times in the past, articles under the Buttercross heading have bemoaned the lack of support from our councillors for almost any town sports organisations.

Much is made of the lack of motivation and exercise opportunities for our local youngsters and yet it appears that no councillor has spoken up in support of town sport.

It could be that many councillors are of senior years, and creaking bones climbing those stairs into that rarified atmosphere of the council chamber does some no favours.

One contentious issue during the last two years was the plea made by one councillor to have kerbing around a family grave, despite cemetery rules forbidding such an item. To the amazement of many the request was granted, despite earlier similar requests by others being denied.

The upshot of all this is that other graves are now obviously able to have similar surrounds and cemetery maintenance has been increased with extra costs to us all.

It is a further pity that, before voting, we could not have been made aware of attendance records for all councillors. Those figures would have made interesting reading.

We understand that, despite the electronic technology and with capable support staff already available, our clerk now needs a personal assistant.

All that can be finally said is that as we look down at the ballot paper before us, perhaps we need to study each name and consider how much useful work that candidate is likely to do for our town over these coming four years.

Following such an exercise, perhaps some of us will not be using too much crayon.