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SCRUTINEER-OUTSIDER'S VIEW

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Graham Roberts. As George Barford in The Archers he is chairman of Ambridge Parish Council - in reality he lives ne...
Graham Roberts. As George Barford in The Archers he is chairman of Ambridge Parish Council - in reality he lives near York

How much council tax do you pay?

About£1,100 a year.

Do you think it represents value for money?

Yes. York City Council taking over the area to the south west of York has been beneficial from the point of view of services.

Tell me the best thing the council has done.

The rubbish collections. They have put the service in line with the city, which is better than Selby council.

And the worst thing it has done.

They have routed the long distance buses from Leeds to Scarborough through the village, so our own road has gone from being a country lane to a through route for double decker buses. We get the lager louts on Friday and Saturday nights now. They come and have a pee in our garden. This was a terrific shock.

When did you last contact a council official and why?

When they decided to place a bus stop right outside our house.

What council services do you use?

The libraries and swimming baths in the city. We used to have a mobile library, but now they have opened a small library in the village.

Have you considered standing for a local council and why?

No, never. I am not really a political animal and it has never interested me. I am too lazy.

Do you think councillors should be paid?

My gut feeling is no. There are all sorts of things, such as the junketing and the twinning. We have carried little stories like this in The Archers. I tend to think that if people are paid, you'll get career politicians coming in.

Do you think having directly elected mayors will improve local democracy?

There is a case I am sure for the elected mayor, but my one drawback is that it is connected with payment.

If you were leader of the council what would be the first thing you did?

The traffic, but I don't know that I could do any better than the council is doing at the moment.

Do you vote in council elections? Why?

Yes I always vote, it's a 'use it or lose it' sort of thing. I like to think I have sussed out the candidates. We do not turn them away if they are canvassing.

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