OPINION: Is Honiton Town Council serving the community?

Compared with other town councils, Honiton Town Council sees a lot of action. Not so much the positive action many would like to see; but more legal action and active disputes, which show little sign of resolve.

Hannah Corfield honiton.nub.news

At just seven members strong, out of a possible 18, with one member unable to participate due to ill health; one might call into question the decision making capabilities of the six remaining councillors.

Another cause for concern is the fact that nine councillors, who appeared to have Honiton’s best interests at heart, were seemingly forced from their positions citing various problems with the current incumbents at HTC.

Added to that, at least two members of staff have been signed off sick amid allegations of bullying in the workplace.

It does not paint a pretty picture, by anyone’s standards. Especially given that we are experiencing the worst crisis in living memory. Strong, proactive, united communities are what will carry us through adversity; is that what Honiton Town Council currently stands for?

Former town councillor, Duncan Sheridan-Shaw commented: “When I first joined Honiton Town Council it was always my intention to understand what the community wanted and needed.

“I feel that if you choose to become a public servant you should choose a life of service – feet to the floor, digging in and sweeping up.

“Honiton Town Council does not currently fulfil this ideal, a professional and proactive organisation should become involved at a grassroots level and get their hands dirty, both metaphorically and physically.

“We do not see a council that is out and about, we do not see a council that holds open meetings just for the sake of doing it, we do not see a council giving up time to sweep up or clean down.

“I feel a productive council should be made of representation FROM community groups and not become representatives TO community groups.

“Our council do not host gala evenings or fund raising events; our council do not join in on fun runs; our council do not hold up the standards of Brand Ambassadors for our community – and for this I am abundantly embarrassed of our town council.”

In response, Mayor John Zarczynski said: “There are a small group of people making false accusations and sharing misinformation on social media.

“An independent investigation is currently underway into complaints made against HTC and I look forward to publishing the results, as this will vindicate the council.

“The councillors who have resigned, making various allegations that are totally untrue, should have stayed on to fight their corner, as they will now cost tax payers £10,000 in by-elections.

“HTC are working on many projects for the community; such as a Neighbourhood Plan, drainage on the High Street, allotments, reopening the market and the proposed Town Park.”