‘Town could die’ says quitting councillor

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A Biggleswade town councillor has resigned in disgust at what he sees as a lack of support from Central Bedfordshire.

Independent councillor Bernard Rix announced at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that he was standing down after slamming the town’s four Central Bedfordshire councillors.

He told the meeting: “I have decided that I cannot remain as a town councillor whilst our current four Central Bedfordshire councillors remain in office. Neither I, nor fellow town councillors, nor the town council itself, can overcome the problems created by Central Bedfordshire, unless Biggleswade’s Central Bedfordshire councillors start doing the job for which we pay them.

“As town councillors, we give our time for free. But our four Central Bedfordshire councillors together are paid over £250,000 for their four year term of office. What a waste of money! If only they listened and acted on what residents are telling them - there’s a long list of areas where they’ve failed to listen and act. If only they listened and acted on what residents and this town council tells them - for example, excellent work by Councillor Russell just recently, preparing a report setting out in detail what the town centre needs right now.”

Mr Rix, a member of the town council for four years, told the Chronicle he was frustrated by what he felt was the invisibilty of the Central Beds councillors.

“There is a lack of involvement of our Central Bedfordshire councillors,” he said. “There is a risk the town centre is going to die. They are creating delays that the town centre can ill afford.”

He cited difficulties in getting street lights from Biggleswade to Kings Reach, issues with planning where he believed the town council’s comments were being ignored by the borough council, and parking.

He says a parking strategy put forward by the town council was being hampered by delays from above.

“We have seen nothing for the benefit of Biggleswade,” he said

But Cllr David Lawrence, one of the four Central Bedfordshire councillors for Biggleswade, rejected his comments saying there was much work going on behind the scenes.

He said a parking strategy is in hand.

“It is going through the democratic process,” he said. “We are not a dictatorship.

“The town centre plan is now way out of date and needs updating as a joint venture.

“We need a grand Biggleswade plan which we haven’t got at the moment.”

And he said there was much confidential work that the councillors carried out working one to one with residents.

“I’m so proud of the social services side of Biggleswade,” he said. “We punch well above our weight.”

Mr Rix said he was looking at ways he could help the town away from the council.

“I will choose the areas that I think I can have most impact on the town,” he said.