After a series of blunders, Cheltenham’s Council needs fresh thinking.
Cheltenham’s Lib Dem-run Borough Council is making gaffe after gaffe.
First there was the disastrous £1.8m-plus Boots Corner fiasco, launched without any coherent plan, which ended up pumping fumes into residential areas and harming local small businesses. Then there was the massive hike in town centre parking charges, which has put off visitors just when the town centre needs a boost.
Then they planned to run down Swindon Road Recycling Centre, before a popular campaign led by local Conservatives forced an embarrassing u-turn. They came up with a disastrous scheme to rob Cheltenham’s Lido of its car park income, which would have jeopardised its future. They even tried to slash Cheltenham’s award-winning town centre flowers, despite them being much loved by tourists and residents. Time and again it has required local people to step up to save Cheltenham from another Council-led blunder.
So what is going wrong with the Council?
The biggest problem is groupthink. 32 out of the 40 councillors are Lib Dem. That means that crackpot initiatives are going unchallenged. Weak representatives fail time and again to call out muddled thinking. We need fresh, dynamic councillors who will speak truth to power.