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FOI confirms council spent £22,000 of taxpayers' cash on banners

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed the borough spent more than £20,000 on banners highlighting the work of the Conservative-led council.

Signs went up across the area last month featuring the Royal Borough logo alongside an array of positive messages, which included the statement it offered the lowest council tax outside of London.

The council has said it used £22,108.80 of taxpayers’ cash to pay for them, confirming a figure which has been widely shared on social media in recent weeks.

But Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park), deputy leader of the council, dismissed claims that this was a bad way to spend public money.

He told the Advertiser: “We are running a balanced budget and to suggest it was money badly spent is absolute nonsense in my opinion.

“As a team we have delivered a great outcome for our residents and we’re proud of that. We’re not just talking about the council, we’re talking about the officers and the whole machine.

“It’s about time we started celebrating our successes in this country.”

In an email seen by the Advertiser, the council’s head of planning Jenifer Jackson said that the banners will require retrospective advertisement consent as they are bigger than rules allow.

Oldfield councillor Geoff Hill (TBF) said he planned to call in any planning application to the Borough Wide Development Management Panel. He said: “I’m quite astounded that banners have appeared all around the borough that require advertisement consent and haven’t been put through the appropriate panel.

“I also worry that this has happened so close to the election.”

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  • Pursuer

    14:02, 07 February 2019

    Have any of the valid complainants referred this to the Electoral Commission? How can this burst of advertising exhibited by this Conservative controlled council, paid for by with ratepayers money, be anything other than political advertising in the run up to the local elections. Oh and I see that Planning Permission has not be granted so retrospective application will be made by the Council to the Council for decision by the Council. It is remarkable that our Council did not, apparently, know its own rules. Will the Council refuse a retrospective Application & if so will it take itself to Appeal- using taxpayers money again?

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  • Bo bubba

    22:10, 06 February 2019

    This is disgusting. Bet the councillors wouldn't like this blatant charmless statistical propaganda hanging right outside their houses. Conservative councillors have just lost last remnant of credibility in my eyes. It beggars belief. Seems RBWM in the grip of a nasty bunch of manipulative self-serving Tories with dubious morals and very low regard for their electorate, if press coverage of recent years is in any way accurate.

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  • Bo bubba

    22:10, 06 February 2019

    This is disgusting. Bet the councillors wouldn't like this blatant charmless statistical propaganda hanging right outside their houses. Conservative councillors have just lost last remnant of credibility in my eyes. It beggars belief. Seems RBWM in the grip of a nasty bunch of manipulative self-serving Tories with dubious morals and very low regard for their electorate, if press coverage of recent years is in any way accurate.

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