28 April 2022
Green Party Councillor Dave Wells has expressed his disappointment about the upcoming closure of the museum and visitor centre at Belper North Mill – and wants to make it clear that he did not vote for the budget which cut the centre’s funds.
“The museum is a great asset to Belper and to Amber Valley as a whole and it is vital that it continues. Contrary to false claims made by Councillor Ben Bellamy, I did not vote for the budget which is leading to the museum’s closure and wish to put the record straight.
Labour Councillor Ben Bellamy has launched a petition against the closure, in which he initially made a false claim about Green voting behaviour.
“Whether deliberately or accidentally, Councillor Bellamy has confused two votes which took place at the full council meeting of 2nd March 2022. This seems to have led to his false claim that I supported the withdrawal of funds from Belper North Mill Museum. I did no such thing and believe the residents of Amber Valley have a right to expect honesty and clarity from their councillors.”
After the false claim was pointed out, the petition was amended to say Dave had abstained from a vote to save museum funding. However, this is still misleading as there was never a vote on this specific matter; it was a vote on a whole budget reduction plan.
Councillor Ben Bellamy has also said he will email all signatories and says he has corrected social media posts.
Dave added: “We are still awaiting a public apology.”
Green candidates are standing across Amber Valley in the upcoming borough council elections on 5th May.
“Unlike councillors from other parties, Green councillors are not told how to vote. So every vote I cast is carefully considered to protect the environment and, above all, the best interests of the people I serve. I strive to be trustworthy, open and honest at all times.
“Who do you trust to vote in your best interests in council elections? I suggest it should be those who always vote with their consciences on each individual issue.”
At Item 4708 BUDGET UPDATE REPORT Full Council Meeting – 22 September 2021 the Council considered an update on the Council’s budget. This report included details on the several matters, including The Budget Reduction Plan, which contained over 40 budget savings, including funding to Belper Mills. 26 Conservatives voted that the amended Budget Reduction Plan be approved, 9 Labour members voted Against, Cllr Wells Abstained.
Item 4761 of the full Amber Valley Borough Council meeting on 2nd March 2022, the council sought approval of its budget requirement for 2022/23. The updated financial plan included cuts to funding for Belper’s North Mill museum and visitor centre. The Conservative councillors voted to approve this budget. Labour councillors and Green councillor Dave Wells abstained. As the Conservatives had a majority, consequently the budget was approved.
The following item (4762) was simply to note the budget which had just been passed and to agree the council tax based on it. As the budget had already been passed and because a council tax needed to be set, Dave Wells voted for this motion.
All councillors’ voting behaviour is on public record, available on Amber Valley Borough Council’s website. Details of both of these items can be found in the minutes of the meeting on Amber Valley Borough Council’s website which can be downloaded here:
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