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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 17:05HRS

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IN DEPTH: 'BLAME CULTURE' COULD SPELL DEATH KNELL FOR BEACH COUNCILS ...
IN DEPTH: 'BLAME CULTURE' COULD SPELL DEATH KNELL FOR BEACH COUNCILS

Britain's 'blame and claim culture' could spell financial ruin to community councils if accidents happen on their land. Pendine community council town clerk Paul Wilkins said his councillors, who are volunteers and do not get any pay or expenses, fear they would be ruined if an accident happened and somebody sued. All seven councillors are standing down from office because they fear they will be held accountable for accidents on Pendine Sands, and nobody else has come forward, so from polling day on 10 June, all seven seats on the community council in Pendine will be left empty. And he said the precedent could affect other councils, which own large areas of public land across Wales. The issue arose after a safety report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. However, Carmarthenshire CC is now looking to see if it can take temporary charge of the community council's duties, reported The Western Mail(p10). Head of leisure and recreation Colin James told the paper: 'We have been in discussions regarding a beach management plan.It is at an extremely early stage but we are committed to working with the community council as Pendine Beach is a first-class leisure resource and offers huge potential in terms of one of Carmarthenshire and Wales's prime bathing locations.'

INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY LIB DEM VOWS TO RUN BIRMINGHAM FOR NOTHING

Millionaire Liberal Democrat John Hemming has promised to forego a£62,000 salary and run Birmingham for nothing if he becomes city council leader after next month's local authority elections. Councillor Hemming, who made his fortune out of founding IT companies, would pay part of the council leader's allowance to charity and use the rest for office expenses, reported The Birmingham Post(20/5/04, p1).

CEREDIGION VOTES 'NO' TO DIRECTLY-ELECTED MAYOR

The result of yesterday's Ceredigion CC mayoral referendum was a large majority against the proposal for a directly-elected mayor. There were 5,308 votes for, 14,013 against, 104 spoilt votes and a turnout just over 36%, the council reported. The Western Mail(20/5/04, p10) summarised the campaigners' arguments.

POST OFFICE ROW COUNCILLORS 'COULD FACE JAIL TERM'

Councillors on Birmingham City Council could be jailed under laws from 1699 if they misreport the business of the House of Commons said the speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin. The threat is the latest development in a dispute between local politicians over post office closures, reports The Birmingham Post (p3).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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