Stourport councillors 'belittled' by HQ passes row

‘Belittling’: Gary Talbot with his visitor’s pass used to attend Stourport Town Council meetings. Picture: PHIL LOACH. 051321L.

‘Belittling’: Gary Talbot with his visitor’s pass used to attend Stourport Town Council meetings. Picture: PHIL LOACH. 051321L. Buy this photo

First published in News Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

STOURPORT town councillors say they have been made to feel “belittled” in their new surroundings at Wyre Forest District Council’s new HQ because they have not been given passes to get into the building.

Members of Stourport Town Council who are not also Wyre Forest district or Worcestershire county councillors – 11 of 18 representatives– must sign in at reception at Wyre Forest House and wait to be escorted through security gates, like visitors.

Town council meetings were moved into the £10 million building temporarily after the former venue at Stourport Civic Centre was vacated and it is not known when they will return there.

District council leader, Conservative councillor John Campion, said passes for Wyre Forest House were not issued to mayors, town or parish councillors.

Stourport Mayor and Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillor Gary Talbot said it made it more difficult for town councillors to do their jobs.

“We must go to reception, fill out a form for the receptionist to phone the Stourport office and someone has to come down and get us,” he said. “It is belittling us and we are treated as visitors.”

“We had door passes to the old headquarters [at the civic centre] so we do not know who has made this decision.

We have to meet in Wyre Forest House and very often we have to wait.”

Conservative councillor and Stourport Deputy Mayor Ken Henderson echoed Mr Talbot’s concerns.

He said: “Quite often our meetings are in the evening so it makes it difficult, especially if there is no receptionist there.

“I like to have my meetings face to face in the Stourport office so it is definitely a problem.”

Mr Campion added: “They have free access to public areas of the building, including all meeting rooms and the cafe.

“The remainder of the building is accessed by security passes, which are issued to employees. We also have temporary visitors’ and contractors’ passes’ which are issued as and when appropriate.”

Comments (23)

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11:34am Thu 31 Jan 13

Primrose Coley says...

So Stourport town councillors are feeling belittled. I don't normally have much sympathy for councillors in general. But, on this issue I'm in agreement. The words that leapt out at me when I read the article, are, 'members of Stourport Town Council who are not also Wyre Forest district or Worcestershire County Councillors, must sign in at reception at Wyre Forest House and wait to be escorted through security gates'.
District Council Leader, Conservative John Campion, admits to not issuing passes to town or parish councillors. Why not? Aren't they elected representatives of out local communities and entitled to be treated as such. Fairness and Equity and all that.... Does this mean a form of elitism is being practiced here? Or worse, that any councillor below the elevated rank of district or county councillor, is no longer considered important in the local government system. Which goes a long way towards explaining why information is not always shared with Parish and Town councils on issues which affect our immediate communities. The District Council would do well to remember, no matter how big its wheel is, it needs all its cogs to keep running smoothly......
So Stourport town councillors are feeling belittled. I don't normally have much sympathy for councillors in general. But, on this issue I'm in agreement. The words that leapt out at me when I read the article, are, 'members of Stourport Town Council who are not also Wyre Forest district or Worcestershire County Councillors, must sign in at reception at Wyre Forest House and wait to be escorted through security gates'. District Council Leader, Conservative John Campion, admits to not issuing passes to town or parish councillors. Why not? Aren't they elected representatives of out local communities and entitled to be treated as such. Fairness and Equity and all that.... Does this mean a form of elitism is being practiced here? Or worse, that any councillor below the elevated rank of district or county councillor, is no longer considered important in the local government system. Which goes a long way towards explaining why information is not always shared with Parish and Town councils on issues which affect our immediate communities. The District Council would do well to remember, no matter how big its wheel is, it needs all its cogs to keep running smoothly...... Primrose Coley
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Thu 31 Jan 13

FlipC - The Mad Ranter says...

Proof, if proof be needed, that in the grand scheme of things only our District and County councillors are considered important (by themselves).
Proof, if proof be needed, that in the grand scheme of things only our District and County councillors are considered important (by themselves). FlipC - The Mad Ranter
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Shibdrift says...

Lock the lot of 'em out and turn it into a battery house!
At least the eggs we would get out of it would be of some use!!!!!
Cluck frigging cluck!
Lock the lot of 'em out and turn it into a battery house! At least the eggs we would get out of it would be of some use!!!!! Cluck frigging cluck! Shibdrift
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Gobby Robby says...

To be fair I don't blame them, I wouldn't have certain, only a few, Stourport Councillors in my house that's for sure. It's probably a safety precaution to keep the bad apples out :-)
To be fair I don't blame them, I wouldn't have certain, only a few, Stourport Councillors in my house that's for sure. It's probably a safety precaution to keep the bad apples out :-) Gobby Robby
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Thu 31 Jan 13

SEWELL says...

Mr Campion added: “They have free access to public areas of the building, including all meeting rooms and the cafe.

They can also enjoy the beauty of the recently purchased palm trees, take in the recently refurbished pictures of past chair persons and admire the recent investment in pictures of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

It's good to see our Council is bucking the trend and can afford to procure such essential items during these austere times. I am sure they will be publishing the costs of these items shortly.

Adrian Sewell
Mr Campion added: “They have free access to public areas of the building, including all meeting rooms and the cafe. They can also enjoy the beauty of the recently purchased palm trees, take in the recently refurbished pictures of past chair persons and admire the recent investment in pictures of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. It's good to see our Council is bucking the trend and can afford to procure such essential items during these austere times. I am sure they will be publishing the costs of these items shortly. Adrian Sewell SEWELL
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Thu 31 Jan 13

jules1611 says...

'they are belittling us and treating us like visitors'. This comment implies to me that visitors are regarded as beneath the councillors. Who do they think they are?? Royalty? If that's all they have to complain about then they should count themselves lucky.
'they are belittling us and treating us like visitors'. This comment implies to me that visitors are regarded as beneath the councillors. Who do they think they are?? Royalty? If that's all they have to complain about then they should count themselves lucky. jules1611
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Thu 31 Jan 13

jon cooper says...

WFDC are a curious breed, they really are. They make the Wyre Forest area a complete laughing stock in their promotion of so called social equality. I wonder if the representitives of the incoming Kidderminster Town Council will be treated in the same vein when visiting and holding town council meetings at 'Wyre Forest House', or perhaps they will sit in the splendour of their own civic facility in Vicar Street Kidderminster - whilst Stourport's civic facility lies empty through the contempt and mismanagement of WFDC !

This story though is a bit rich when you consider which boundary 'Wyre Forest House' actually resides in. How can it be possible that Stourport Town Council members can be "escorted" into a public building when the building in question is actually located within the boundaries of Stourport-on-Severn ? Why has WFDC dismissed this serious error of the incorrect postcoding of 'Wyre Forest House': Since when has Lickhill Ward been in Kidderminster ????

It seems that this error of misleading the general public into believing that 'Wyre Forest House' is within the boundaries of Kidderminster was common knoweledge amongst the hierachy of WFDC when the plans to proceed with this so called single-site was passed in February 2011. Instead of correcting this mistake, WFDC insist on burying their heads and hoping that their blunderous error will go unnoticed; whilst having the cheek to treat Stourport councillors as visitors !

I hope Stourport Town Council will now stand up for their towns rights, and on behalf of the residents they represent, into making sure WFDC ensure the postal address of 'Wyre Forest House' is changed into it's legitimate form of Stourport-on-Severn for both moral and legal reasons !!!!
WFDC are a curious breed, they really are. They make the Wyre Forest area a complete laughing stock in their promotion of so called social equality. I wonder if the representitives of the incoming Kidderminster Town Council will be treated in the same vein when visiting and holding town council meetings at 'Wyre Forest House', or perhaps they will sit in the splendour of their own civic facility in Vicar Street Kidderminster - whilst Stourport's civic facility lies empty through the contempt and mismanagement of WFDC ! This story though is a bit rich when you consider which boundary 'Wyre Forest House' actually resides in. How can it be possible that Stourport Town Council members can be "escorted" into a public building when the building in question is actually located within the boundaries of Stourport-on-Severn ? Why has WFDC dismissed this serious error of the incorrect postcoding of 'Wyre Forest House': Since when has Lickhill Ward been in Kidderminster ???? It seems that this error of misleading the general public into believing that 'Wyre Forest House' is within the boundaries of Kidderminster was common knoweledge amongst the hierachy of WFDC when the plans to proceed with this so called single-site was passed in February 2011. Instead of correcting this mistake, WFDC insist on burying their heads and hoping that their blunderous error will go unnoticed; whilst having the cheek to treat Stourport councillors as visitors ! I hope Stourport Town Council will now stand up for their towns rights, and on behalf of the residents they represent, into making sure WFDC ensure the postal address of 'Wyre Forest House' is changed into it's legitimate form of Stourport-on-Severn for both moral and legal reasons !!!! jon cooper
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Thu 31 Jan 13

emjaypee says...

So you have to sign in & wait a few minutes so what?
Concentrate on issues of importance and grow up!!!
So you have to sign in & wait a few minutes so what? Concentrate on issues of importance and grow up!!! emjaypee
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Tory Stooge says...

emjaypee wrote:
So you have to sign in & wait a few minutes so what?
Concentrate on issues of importance and grow up!!!
Yet again I find myself agreeing with emjaypee 100%.
[quote][p][bold]emjaypee[/bold] wrote: So you have to sign in & wait a few minutes so what? Concentrate on issues of importance and grow up!!![/p][/quote]Yet again I find myself agreeing with emjaypee 100%. Tory Stooge
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Roy Keys says...

As a Parish Councillor ( small p, small r ) I often find myself in council meetings closing on 11.00 pm and on each passing week/month it becomes quite obvious to me that what my colleagues and myself say or do matters not a jot unless or until you attain the elevated ranks often achieved by " sitting by Nellie" for 10 years " ( 1 year,20 times )Who was it used the term "fairness and equity " and more recent " all in it together ".
The whole thing ,however,has given me a good laugh for I find myself comparing the situation with the "crystallization of class " when Marx attepted attempted an explanation of power (perceived )passing through social hierachy,class based,in the frenzied competition for status.
There is a comparison to be had here with my two male blackbirds who visit me daily on my bird table.Bird one gets a morsel of Hovis best and runs off with it.But bird two,even though there's plenty left on the table wants that particular piece and takes off after him.Both have featured in the great British bird watch
You will already know according to Marx it's called " social stratification.
As a Parish Councillor ( small p, small r ) I often find myself in council meetings closing on 11.00 pm and on each passing week/month it becomes quite obvious to me that what my colleagues and myself say or do matters not a jot unless or until you attain the elevated ranks often achieved by " sitting by Nellie" for 10 years " ( 1 year,20 times )Who was it used the term "fairness and equity " and more recent " all in it together ". The whole thing ,however,has given me a good laugh for I find myself comparing the situation with the "crystallization of class " when Marx attepted attempted an explanation of power (perceived )passing through social hierachy,class based,in the frenzied competition for status. There is a comparison to be had here with my two male blackbirds who visit me daily on my bird table.Bird one gets a morsel of Hovis best and runs off with it.But bird two,even though there's plenty left on the table wants that particular piece and takes off after him.Both have featured in the great British bird watch You will already know according to Marx it's called " social stratification. Roy Keys
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Gobby Robby says...

Pardon? I'll have what Roy's having ;-)
Pardon? I'll have what Roy's having ;-) Gobby Robby
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Thu 31 Jan 13

DOEPUBLIC says...

Another symptom of a WFDC leadership group more focused on their own comfort and well-being at public expense, while limiting public access to the facilities. Especially when employees themselves are having to wrap up to keep warm.
Another symptom of a WFDC leadership group more focused on their own comfort and well-being at public expense, while limiting public access to the facilities. Especially when employees themselves are having to wrap up to keep warm. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Thu 31 Jan 13

FranOb says...

The Post Office do the post coding NOT WFDC!
If we get a Kidderminster Town Council it will meet, as do Kidderminster Charter Trustees, in Kidderminster Town Hall.
Stourport Town Council is hoping to get control of the Civic Centre. If it does I am sure it will not give non Stourport members access passes.
District Councillors who are not County Councillors, but who need to attend meetings at County Hall, have to sign in as visitors.
All the public meeting rooms at WF House are open to everyone.
How many Private Sector employers would allow free access to their back office areas?
And for Cllr Sewell's information, most Council HQs in this country have photos of the Queen and Duke of Edinburg on display, and are proud to do so.
The Post Office do the post coding NOT WFDC! If we get a Kidderminster Town Council it will meet, as do Kidderminster Charter Trustees, in Kidderminster Town Hall. Stourport Town Council is hoping to get control of the Civic Centre. If it does I am sure it will not give non Stourport members access passes. District Councillors who are not County Councillors, but who need to attend meetings at County Hall, have to sign in as visitors. All the public meeting rooms at WF House are open to everyone. How many Private Sector employers would allow free access to their back office areas? And for Cllr Sewell's information, most Council HQs in this country have photos of the Queen and Duke of Edinburg on display, and are proud to do so. FranOb
  • Score: 0

9:05pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Gobby Robby says...

I wouldn't allow some of those Stourport town councillors free access to my back office areas either. You wouldn't know what might happen.
I wouldn't allow some of those Stourport town councillors free access to my back office areas either. You wouldn't know what might happen. Gobby Robby
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Red Flag Dan says...

Fran,
There's nothing wrong with displaying photographs of the Queen and Prince Philip. But do really think spending £437 on two photographs really represents value for money for the council tax payer?
Fran, There's nothing wrong with displaying photographs of the Queen and Prince Philip. But do really think spending £437 on two photographs really represents value for money for the council tax payer? Red Flag Dan
  • Score: 0

10:08pm Thu 31 Jan 13

jon cooper says...

WFDC knew before the first brick was laid at 'Wyre Forest House' that the postal address was completely and utterly wrong, causing total confusion to both residents and visitors alike. It's all very well to blame others, but WFDC have a moral obligation to correct this clear blunder ! I can only imagine what the likes of Councillor Fran Oborski would have made of this mistake should the roles be reversed !
WFDC knew before the first brick was laid at 'Wyre Forest House' that the postal address was completely and utterly wrong, causing total confusion to both residents and visitors alike. It's all very well to blame others, but WFDC have a moral obligation to correct this clear blunder ! I can only imagine what the likes of Councillor Fran Oborski would have made of this mistake should the roles be reversed ! jon cooper
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Thu 31 Jan 13

neilhar says...

First. It's called Wyre Forest House and when I last looked Stourport is in fact, in Wyre Forest.

Second. Campion himself confirmed, and part of the bedrock of this district, is, that Stourport town council will ALWAYS have a facility to meet in. Now John, you closed it, so issue some temporary passes until you provide it with one; "they can use the public meeting rooms or the cafe" Grow up you arrogant little child and start being fair, equitable and reasonable. Your words. For once, in your miserable little power gang.

Third. Fran. It's in Stourport and moving the sign did not fool anyone.

Finally. This is a £10.5million facility built and paid for by us and that is supposed to be to the benefit of all of us. Make it so. Now trying doing some good for this place instead of trotting off to Denmark to buy carpets when you have built an office next to a F#ckin* carpet factory. *Appropriate use of profanity

Where did Tavis leave those travel books?
First. It's called Wyre Forest House and when I last looked Stourport is in fact, in Wyre Forest. Second. Campion himself confirmed, and part of the bedrock of this district, is, that Stourport town council will ALWAYS have a facility to meet in. Now John, you closed it, so issue some temporary passes until you provide it with one; "they can use the public meeting rooms or the cafe" Grow up you arrogant little child and start being fair, equitable and reasonable. Your words. For once, in your miserable little power gang. Third. Fran. It's in Stourport and moving the sign did not fool anyone. Finally. This is a £10.5million facility built and paid for by us and that is supposed to be to the benefit of all of us. Make it so. Now trying doing some good for this place instead of trotting off to Denmark to buy carpets when you have built an office next to a F#ckin* carpet factory. *Appropriate use of profanity Where did Tavis leave those travel books? neilhar
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Gobby Robby says...

I wonder if a certain Councillor or Councillors are doing a neat sideline in duplicate passes? Make sure no one's already sitting in your seat when you get there ;-)
I wonder if a certain Councillor or Councillors are doing a neat sideline in duplicate passes? Make sure no one's already sitting in your seat when you get there ;-) Gobby Robby
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Thu 31 Jan 13

DOEPUBLIC says...

Are you stating then FranO that the Mayor of Stourport cannot be trusted to visit staff and officers from the his own council.

Fact - written notice has been given to WFDC with regard to various access issues members of the public have had with the building.

The snagging list would also imply that access to a value for money building has also been restricted to the public.

It would also appear that non-IT proficient members of the community are also to be prevented access to council business.

Maybe when the council has it's access issues sorted it can start promoting safe and healthy use of spaces beyond its four walls. Possibly then getting a sense of the temperature on the streets.
Are you stating then FranO that the Mayor of Stourport cannot be trusted to visit staff and officers from the his own council. Fact - written notice has been given to WFDC with regard to various access issues members of the public have had with the building. The snagging list would also imply that access to a value for money building has also been restricted to the public. It would also appear that non-IT proficient members of the community are also to be prevented access to council business. Maybe when the council has it's access issues sorted it can start promoting safe and healthy use of spaces beyond its four walls. Possibly then getting a sense of the temperature on the streets. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Thu 31 Jan 13

DOEPUBLIC says...

Are you stating then FranO that the Mayor of Stourport cannot be trusted to visit staff and officers from the his own council.

Fact - written notice has been given to WFDC with regard to various access issues members of the public have had with the building.

The snagging list would also imply that access to a value for money building has also been restricted to the public.

It would also appear that non-IT proficient members of the community are also to be prevented access to council business.

Maybe when the council has it's access issues sorted it can start promoting safe and healthy use of spaces beyond its four walls. Possibly then getting a sense of the temperature on the streets.
Are you stating then FranO that the Mayor of Stourport cannot be trusted to visit staff and officers from the his own council. Fact - written notice has been given to WFDC with regard to various access issues members of the public have had with the building. The snagging list would also imply that access to a value for money building has also been restricted to the public. It would also appear that non-IT proficient members of the community are also to be prevented access to council business. Maybe when the council has it's access issues sorted it can start promoting safe and healthy use of spaces beyond its four walls. Possibly then getting a sense of the temperature on the streets. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 0

10:56pm Thu 31 Jan 13

DOEPUBLIC says...

Sorry, it was not intentional to duplicate my message. Though it does show how media can corrupt the message.
Sorry, it was not intentional to duplicate my message. Though it does show how media can corrupt the message. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Sat 2 Feb 13

comberton hill questions says...

Well I have read with some interest the comments made.

I am amazed at the cost of 2 photographs. Whilst "most" councils may have photographs of undemocratic welfare benefit Claimants it doe snot mean all the electorate agree and maybe this was not the best call (at over £437- do they licence them and get a royalty - no pun intended) and the pictures should be left in Tory HQ instead.

Gobby - i think the point about if you would trust them in through your back office again no pun could be placed about a lot of councillors irrespective of district - however this point appears regarding respect and proportionality - surely having a pass where they need to sign in and then can go through unescorted would monitor as well as prevent the need for people feeling belittled or undermined - if they had them before at the Civic Centre why not let them have them now?
Well I have read with some interest the comments made. I am amazed at the cost of 2 photographs. Whilst "most" councils may have photographs of undemocratic welfare benefit Claimants it doe snot mean all the electorate agree and maybe this was not the best call (at over £437- do they licence them and get a royalty - no pun intended) and the pictures should be left in Tory HQ instead. Gobby - i think the point about if you would trust them in through your back office again no pun could be placed about a lot of councillors irrespective of district - however this point appears regarding respect and proportionality - surely having a pass where they need to sign in and then can go through unescorted would monitor as well as prevent the need for people feeling belittled or undermined - if they had them before at the Civic Centre why not let them have them now? comberton hill questions
  • Score: 0

9:24am Mon 4 Feb 13

FlipC - The Mad Ranter says...

I think the main point here seems to be a case of WFDC preventing Stourport Town Council from meeting at the Civic; offering WF House as an alternative; and then treating them as 'constant' visitors.
I think the main point here seems to be a case of WFDC preventing Stourport Town Council from meeting at the Civic; offering WF House as an alternative; and then treating them as 'constant' visitors. FlipC - The Mad Ranter
  • Score: 0

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