Honiton mayor responds to claims of ineffectiveness

Parish pump politics – an update on a long running one.

The mayor of Honiton Town Council and a community group have clashed over the council’s effectiveness.

Last week, mayor John Zarczynski published a list of projects the town council was working on in response to criticism from Honiton Forward that they were ‘doing nothing’.

In the publication, Cllr Zarczynski said the council was working on projects such as allotments, improvements to pathways and restoring mill streams among others.

Honiton Forward said they felt the list was created ‘to demonstrate lots of action when actually nothing tangible is being done on any of these things’.

They said: “There is little indication of any project that Honiton Town Council has conceived, consulted about, funded and implemented. The sole exception is the plan for allotments which the council has a duty to provide but which is many years late.

“If the council was serious about progressing projects for the benefit of the community, there would be a list of them on the council website, the minutes of… meetings would be littered with progress reports and council budgets would show what funds had been earmarked towards which projects. These things are almost entirely absent.”

In response to Honiton Forward’s statement, Cllr Zarczynski said: “Unfortunately, projects in progress had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus lockdown. Now government restrictions are slowly being lifted, councillors are looking forward to working towards delivering the projects in progress

“I agree the council website is long overdue for upgrading and I can confirm full council resolved £5,000 over a year ago for the upgrade. I can also confirm the delay in upgrading the council’s website is due to administrative issues and not serving councillors.

“I also point out that full council minutes do not always reflect the full extent of debate on agenda items with councillors being named only when necessary as this would be too time consuming for officers of the council. I fully appreciate not all members of the public are able to attend council meetings. Council fully supports council meetings should be recorded and posted in the best interests of transparency so members of the public are better informed.