According to government, town and parish councils are the first level of local government. They provide communities with a democratic voice and a structure for taking community action; they are meant to represent community views.
Millom Town Council should have 15 councillors but there are three vacant posts at the moment. Of the current 12 councillors only four were elected (unopposed) in the last elections of 2019 – they were elected unopposed because not enough people stood for there to be an election; the other eight have been co-opted without the constituents having any say, this is because eight councillors have resigned during this period. So unless we are told something different (both Millom Town Council and Copeland Borough Council have been contacted for information) there should be an election for all 15 Millom town councillors this coming May.
We do not want a GDF to be sited in our area; it would appear that this is the view of over 60% of the community (as shown in the two surveys – one conducted by millom.org., the other baseline survey commissioned by the Community Partnership. Whilst both were small surveys nevertheless it seems likely the results reflect the views of the majority).
The position of the current Millom Town Council is said to be neutral regarding the GDF however their actions speak louder than their words as they are represented on the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership. The Community Partnership (CP) are meant to listen to the views of the community and make information about the GDF available to the community. Not only do the CP not listen to the views of the community (who appear to be opposed to a GDF being sited here) but they only promote one view about the GDF, that of the developer and do not address the concerns of the community by obtaining independent information and letting the community know about this. So, in effect, Millom Town Council are actually promoting the possibility of a GDF being sited in our area against the wishes of the majority.
It would seem Millom Town Council agreed to join the Community Partnership in order to access the £1 million funding available because this is what they were told they had to do by the chair of the Partnership. Well, we discovered that this is not the case: they do NOT have to be a member of the CP to apply for funding! But they intend to continue to be a member as stated in their response to a request that they consider withdrawing as a result of the baseline survey:
In answer to your questions, Millom Town Council (MTC) will, for the foreseeable future, continue with its neutral stance on the possible siting of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) off the coast of South Copeland as ultimately should a suitable site be identified, the community will make the final decision.
We will also not be withdrawing from the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership as this is a major infrastructure project that aims to protect people and the environment for generations to come. Withdrawing from the partnership serves no purpose, as the process does not require MTC to be around the table to continue. It is our collective responsibility as a council to ensure that process is transparent, open and robust to ensure our community has all the information required to make an informed decision should the process develop to that stage.
As a Council, we will continue to monitor the views of the community and ensure that they are fed into the discussions of this process over the coming years as more information becomes available.
How on earth is making our area Britain’s main nuclear dump “a major infrastructure project that aims to protect people and the environment for generations to come?” As already stated, the CP does not (nor does Millom Town Council) provide the community with all the information required to make an informed choice: they are only giving one side and are not addressing the concerns of the community.
It is in our power to change this: we can put forward candidates for the forthcoming election who stand on an anti-GDF ticket. Once elected the new council can conduct a poll to ascertain the views of the community with regard to the GDF (which the current Town Council will not do). It could then pull out of the Community Partnership and gather information about the concerns residents have raised about the GDF, making this information public.
The new council could also survey residents about their needs and wants and produce a Town Plan based on the views of residents (most town and parish councils have one but not Millom).
The people of this town deserve better; they deserve proper representation, their opinions should count.
Are you willing to stand up and be counted??????