‘Choice’ event sparks controversy

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THE organisers of last Saturday’s ‘Voice Your Choice’ event in Filey have defended their decision not to repeat the event in the town, despite complaints from residents.

At least 50 people were turned away from the community referendum in the concert hall, which was the first of nine events to decide which projects to allocate funding to.

Despite the publicity saying they must arrive on time to take part, many did not turn up until after the start time of 2pm, when there was still a queue outside the concert hall.

The DVD presentation eventually got underway at ten past two, to a capacity crowd of about 150. There was no second screening on the day, and the organising committee confirmed chairman John Blackburn’s decision not to hold a repeat event in Filey at an emergency meeting held on Tuesday.

One of those turned away, Louise Kendall, said she believed the event was “a complete joke”. She said: “I arrived just after 2pm and stood for 15 minutes outside as the door was closed. Around 40 people had arrived when Cllr Blackburn came out and told us all we should have been here on time and that it was full anyway! He made no apologies to anyone – in fact he was arrogant and really abrupt.

“As we were leaving we were then led to believe we could go to another at 3pm but when we arrived at 2.45pm, making sure we were on time, we were told that we had again wasted our time and that we could not vote. I certainly don’t feel that my voice was heard.”

Another complainant Robert Briggs said: “Fifty to 60 people were turned away because it was ten past two, and another 20 or so after that. It’s all very well telling people they should go to another meeting somewhere else, but my fear is young people or the unemployed won’t be able to make it.”

A further eight events were scheduled for other venues throughout the southern area, with presentations still to come in Eastfield (today at 1pm in the community centre), Cayton Jubilee Hall (Monday at 3pm) and Reighton Village Hall (Tuesday at 7pm). Residents can only vote once each, and it does not matter which meeting they attend.

The DVD is a compilation of short recordings from 29 different community groups making their pitch for grants of up to £5,000.

Cllr Blackburn said the turn-out in Filey was “gratifying”, but the organisers had to make a decision on the day as to whether or not to screen the 45-minute recording again. He said: “We felt we should stick by the rules. We’d already agreed to show it again if there were people who couldn’t get in at 2pm, but there was no-one there at ten past two when we shut the doors.”

He added that if they had shown it again, it would set a precedent for the other eight events. He also denied being rude, saying he was sorry if people missed out, but he himself had nothing to apologise for.

Apart from the Filey controversy, Cllr Blackburn said he believed the process was going well and everyone appeared to appreciate the way it was being done. He said: “Some of the little projects feel it isn’t fair because the people involved with the bigger ones all vote for themselves. It’s inevitable people will give the highest marks to themselves, but they judge other projects on their own merits and it hasn’t been the case at the other events we’ve done that the smaller projects have missed out.

“Of course you learn things as you go along, and the one thing I would change is if I was printing a new leaflet it would say ‘you must be on time’ in really big letters!”

At the end of the nine events, the scores awarded to each bid will be tallied up and the most popular will win a share of the £49,000 of local authority funds being distributed. All groups were congratulated on their hard work and the quality of their presentations.

The project list in full (with bids in brackets):

1. The Electrowind - Barn Bowling Club, Cayton (£3,800); 2. Filey Sea Cadets - construction of a new roof (£5,000); 3. Gristhorpe and Lebberston Parish Council - installation of new roundabout at Gristhorpe playing fields (£5,000); 4. Eastfield Voice - setting up and developing a newsletter to increase community participation (£4,410); 5. Folkton and Flixton Village Hall - installation of new kitchen (£750); 6. Hunmanby Playgroup - purchase of ICT equipment, safety equipment and equipment for outdoor play; 7. Filey Lions Club - to help meet costs of community bonfire (£2,000); 8. Osgodby Memorial Garden - creation of garden (£750); 9. Filey Youth Council - Creation of a sound-proof recording studio and dance/keep fit room at Filey Youth Centre (£4,816); 10. Filey Childcare - to build a heuristic/multi-sensory play area within Filey Childcare day nursery (£3,000); 11. Filey Southdene Bowling Club - improvements to infrastructure and safety (£2,067.28); 12. Hunmanby Community Centre - renovation of garden (£3,998); 13. Filey Lawn Tennis Club - to provide a cold water supply to club-house (£852); 14. Filey Town Juniors Football Club - to enable the creation of a new team for under-8s (£2,900); 15, Filey Town Council Decorative Lighting Scheme - to instal permanent feature lighting to highlight special features (£3,640); 16. Hunmanby Local History Group - purchase of digital projector (£200); 17. Scarborough and District CAB - provision of in-depth money advice service for residents of Filey and surrounding area (£4,174); 18. Muston Village Hall - insallation of new disabled toilet and upgrading of current provision (£5,000); 19. Hunmanby Young People’s Organisation - towards the creation of a new youth facility (£3,345); 20. Filey Sports Partnership - provision of public swimming sessions at Filey Swimming Pool (£5,000); 21. Osgodby in Bloom - complete redesign of floral displays on village green (£350); 22. Filey Town Festival - to provide a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ finale (£1,700); 23. Eastfield Pop-in Club - to increase membership and provide a service to socially isolated residents (£3,140); 24. Eastfield Activities Group - delivery of cultural and arts events for families, the elderly and teenagers (£5,000); 25. Filey Cricket Club - Provision of equipment for junior members (£1,633.24); 26. Eastfield Family Network - delivery of activities and events for children and families to whole southern area (£4,060); 27. High Street Flats Group, Eastfield - hanging baskets/improvements for flats (£4,790); 28. Mud in your Blood, Eastfield - to enable the purchase/rent of a storage unit/workshop for bikes and equipment (£5,000); 29. Reighton and Speeton in Bloom - provide more flower beds, restore village pump at Reighton and improve pond at Speeton (£1,000).