Bath's expensive jolly

March 15, 2012 10:27 AM

Delegates from Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) rushed off to the South of France earlier this month to take part in MIPIM, the annual jamboree for ‘international property trade’. Five council officers felt the need to go out there in order to ‘promote the overall development agenda for B&NES’ and they dangled the prospect of 20,000 attendees being there, mostly from the UK and Europe, ‘but increasingly attended by Middle East and Asian investors.’ All sounds terribly exciting and important, the idea they could bag some foreign money for our city.

A total of £30,000 of taxpayers’ money was allocated to the event, covering all travel and accommodation, promotion material and the hosting of seminars over the course of the week. This seems surprisingly modest as the cost of previous shows has included £80,000 for a stand and around £120,000 to hire space.

Bath taxpayers look forward to hearing the results of our council officers interaction over wine and canapés in Cannes, but may be a little disappointed when they hear the level of achievement and outward investment obtained at a previous MIPIM show. For all the money spent, B&NES council officers could only claim that the week of entertaining generated the following. ‘As a result of meetings at MIPIM this year,’ they trumpeted, ‘we have reached a critical stage with English Partnerships and DCLG and have removed blockages in order to secure support and funding in the region of £30 million.’

Removing blockages—sound more like a plumbers’ convention. And what about the foreign investment? Both these funding bodies are British, handing out British taxpayers' money, and the blockages could surely have been removed at a few less costly meetings on home ground. Apparently not…

In the meantime, Filton Town Council—the owners of the mystery container paid for with taxpayers’ money—are at it again. Recently, councillors voted to increase by 5% public charges for their leisure facilities, but, in a controversial move, excluded their cycle speedway track and boules courts.

‘Both facilities cost Filton taxpayers in excess of £77,000 to build and are only used by clubs from outside of the town,’ reports This is Bristol. Filton South Gloucestershire Councillor Roger Hutchinson is captain of one of the only teams to use the boules courts and is secretary of the Filton cycle speedway club. Perhaps he should be representing the interests of Filton taxpayers first?Delegates from Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) rushed off to the South of France earlier this month to take part in MIPIM, the annual jamboree for ‘international property trade’. Five council officers felt the need to go out there in order to ‘promote the overall development agenda for B&NES’ and they dangled the prospect of 20,000 attendees being there, mostly from the UK and Europe, ‘but increasingly attended by Middle East and Asian investors.’ All sounds terribly exciting and important, the idea they could bag some foreign money for our city.

A total of £30,000 of taxpayers’ money was allocated to the event, covering all travel and accommodation, promotion material and the hosting of seminars over the course of the week. This seems surprisingly modest as the cost of previous shows has included £80,000 for a stand and around £120,000 to hire space.

Bath taxpayers look forward to hearing the results of our council officers interaction over wine and canapés in Cannes, but may be a little disappointed when they hear the level of achievement and outward investment obtained at a previous MIPIM show. For all the money spent, B&NES council officers could only claim that the week of entertaining generated the following. ‘As a result of meetings at MIPIM this year,’ they trumpeted, ‘we have reached a critical stage with English Partnerships and DCLG and have removed blockages in order to secure support and funding in the region of £30 million.’

Removing blockages—sound more like a plumbers’ convention. And what about the foreign investment? Both these funding bodies are British, handing out British taxpayers' money, and the blockages could surely have been removed at a few less costly meetings on home ground. Apparently not…

In the meantime, Filton Town Council—the owners of the mystery container paid for with taxpayers’ money—are at it again. Recently, councillors voted to increase by 5% public charges for their leisure facilities, but, in a controversial move, excluded their cycle speedway track and boules courts.

‘Both facilities cost Filton taxpayers in excess of £77,000 to build and are only used by clubs from outside of the town,’ reports This is Bristol. Filton South Gloucestershire Councillor Roger Hutchinson is captain of one of the only teams to use the boules courts and is secretary of the Filton cycle speedway club. Perhaps he should be representing the interests of Filton taxpayers first?

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