County councillor criticised over plans for Bideford
09:49 27 January 2014
Councillor for Bideford South told he is ‘wasting his time’ looking into plans for a third bridge in the town.
A COUNTY councillor has been criticised for trying to ‘wave a magic wand’ after telling town councillors his plans for Bideford.
Councillor Robin Julian, who represents Bideford South and Hartland, outlined his plans to Bideford Town Councillors on Thursday.
Cllr Julian told councillors he had plans to boost the town and hoped to see it open and ready for business.
He said he was exploring the idea of a third bridge over the River Torridge and wanted to reopen the Bideford to Barnstaple railway line.
“We have got to bring Bideford up and start making money,” he said.
“It’s got to be a nice place to live and we need to get lots of shops and businesses in the town. We don’t want people to keep going to Barnstaple instead.”
But Cllr Peter Christie said plans for a third bridge had been looked at several times before, including in 1949 and 1968, and had been quoted a price of £80million.
“The way you outline these plans seems very easy, almost as if you’re going to wave a magic wand and Bideford will be wonderful,” he said.
Cllr Roger Vanstone said he thought Cllr Julian would be ‘wasting his time’ looking into the plans for the bridge and reopening the railway.
“I think you’re on a highway to nowhere,” he added.
Cllr Julian also defended comments he had previously made following his election comparing the council to a ‘16th century town council’.
Bideford mayor Cllr Simon Inch told the county councillor he was ‘deeply hurt’ by the comments and asked him to explain himself.
Cllr Julian said: “There are some councillors here that don’t like change too much, or they talk about things for a long time but haven’t done anything about it.
“I did not mean to paint the whole council with one brush but there’s a few who like to keep the status quo. I hope we can all work together to better the town.”