A parish council has felt the wrath of its residents after it decided to spend almost £5,000 on new office space.
In a heated public meeting attended by more than 30 people, Watermead’s parish councillors were put under severe pressure to explain why they had spent £4,912 on refurbishing the gatehouse building.
Debbie Clarke, a former councillor, expressed her dismay at a lack of consultation by the council on how the money would be spent.
She said: “I’m unhappy with their attitude and the way they go about things and a lot of people are.
“Why were parishioners not asked what was the best use of the gatehouse?
“I know we cannot ‘unspend’ the money.”
However, chairman Sue Severn defended the council. She said: “We give up our free time to do our best. The council is being attacked.”
During the questioning by parishoners she said: “I’m losing the will to live here.”
Mrs Clarke said the remarks indicated the lack of respect Mrs Severn has for her parishioners.
It was originally claimed in March that the gatehouse was being refurbished to be used as a meeting room and rented out for £100 with the aim of recouping the £5,000 within a year.
But earlier this month councillor Adrian Schwaab told The Bucks Herald vandalism was a reason behind the refurb.
Mr Schwaab assured residents the money had not come out of the council precept but from money generated by maintaining Buckingham Park’s parish hall while the estate did not have an authority.
Mrs Clarke continued: “They said the reason it was done up was because it was an eye sore. A bush does not make an eye sore in my opinion.
“However, nearly all work has been to the inside of the gatehouse, which was damaged many years ago.”
Councillor Alan Rose explained that both reasons were valid for the expenditure and that planning permission was not required.
He said: “It was inaccessible with shrubbery growing around the door. It was in a state of total dereliction and at some stage vandalised. We also needed an additional meeting room. I feel we have taken the correct decision.”
The building, which can hold eight people, will be used for meetings by the parish council.
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Weather for Aylesbury
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North