A recently elected Poole councillor unable to find a public building in which to hold surgeries has resorted to using willing residents’ homes.
Julie Bagwell, who represents Hamworthy West for Poole People, is incensed that she is not able to use Hamworthy Library because it is in the neighbouring Hamworthy East ward.
When she did book a room there to meet residents it was cancelled by a senior Borough of Poole officer. He said Poole Housing Partnership had told her she could not use two community rooms in the area because it was “political”, although they are used as polling stations and she pointed out that a residents’ surgery is not a political meeting.
“I can catch up with people on Turlin Moor when I go to the shops,” said Cllr Bagwell, who lives on the estate, but she would like somewhere, preferably with a car park, to meet residents who have concerns.
“Having no place is quite frustrating,” she said, “Especially this far away from May.”
She was supported by her group leader, Cllr Mark Howell who said: “Julie doesn’t have a natural place to do surgeries because there are no public buildings that are suitable in the Hamworthy West ward.”
He said it was “just ridiculous” that she was unable to use the library to meet residents.
Kevin McErlane, head of culture and community learning, said: “Councillors are encouraged to engage with their electorate but the council is not responsible for providing venues for their surgeries. There is an informal agreement between members that surgeries are held in their own wards, so Cllr Bagwell may wish to discuss this matter further with the leaders of the council’s political groups.” Cllr Bagwell is holding a surgery at the Pamper Salon on Turlin Moor on Saturday December 12 from 10am to 11am.