10:55am Thursday 6th March 2014
By Lee Irving
LYME Regis Town Council has “killed off” a volunteer community group set up to help manage and look after the Marine Parade Shelters.
That was the view of lead volunteer Chris Boothroyd as he spoke at the town management committee meeting last week as councillors discussed the disbanding of the Shelters Users’ Representative Forum (SURF), and has demanded an explanation on the council’s actions.
SURF was initially set up during the construction work on the shelters. It included a member from all of the groups that would use the shelters and would help manage them.
Mr Boothroyd also suggested there was an active disincentive from the council and lack of support for the group to work.
Mr Boothroyd said: “There has been a loss of momentum due to the town council, not because of the members of SURF. I have recognised that the user group has been killed off and I don’t think it was an accident it was killed off.
“I do think the group deserves the courtesy of an explanation as to why their actions and contributions have been spurned. I think it could have been a real asset to the council.
“It’s a kick in the teeth for the people who have planned and worked on it.”
Following Mr Boothroyd’s speech, councillors discussed the group at length with Cllrs Anita Williams and Michaela Ellis vociferous in their support for the group and their anger at seeing it close.
Cllr Anita Williams said: “I think the SURF issue goes back a lot further and to a previous management who perhaps didn’t show the necessary interest.
“I talk to these volunteers and I think there is a feeling they put forward items and we have not taken them forward.”
Operations manager Elliot Herbert told the council he felt there wasn’t a need for SURF, but what the council had to ensure that any volunteers who work at the facility have the ‘right tools to do their job’.
Cllr Michaela Ellis said she felt if the group was used properly it would make the jobs of the councillors easier.
Cllr Williams added: “SURF in its existing form may have run its course but I think a new one should be formed that considers issues at the pavilion properly.
“Instead of going back and forth from meeting to meeting we need to actually make a decision. We are in danger of being that by not taking hold of it now.”
Councillors agreed to recommend to full council that a new Marine Shelters users group should be set up with the direct involvement of operations manager Elliott Herbert.
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