Dear Sir,

Last month, Great Aycliffe Town Council published the results of its ‘Your Town, Your Choice, Your Voice’ satisfaction survey. 92% of respondents thought that Great Aycliffe is a pleasant place to live, 88% declared that they were satisfied with the town’s Labour-controlled Council … and 87% stated that it gives value for money.

This stands in stark contrast to a letter in last week’s Newton News, which accused the Council of making ‘faulty’ judgements. None of the claims were true, as can be proved from the Council minutes.

• GATC P&R Minute 81 (December 2019) records that the Council voted to leave the decision on a ‘paper-light council’ to the new Council after the 2021 elections (i.e NOT to set aside £39,000 to buy ourselves “new shiny laptops and ipads” as was claimed last week).

• GATC Full Council Minute 90 (December 2019) records our agreement to prepare in our Medium Term Financial Plan for the renegotiation of the contract with DCC regarding the streetlights on the A167 (i.e. NOT, as last week’s letter claimed, to have the lights removed if DCC won’t pay).

• Also, may I point out that the Labour Group is a voluntary meeting of Labour councillors who believe (as their membership card states) that “by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”. Contrary to what last week’s letter claimed, it has no whips, and has no powers to expel anyone from the Labour Party.

We live in a world which, politically, is unsettled and angry. By contrast, voters in Great Aycliffe have chosen for many years to give control of their town council to the Labour Party, and I would suggest that that trust evidences itself in our green environment, well-regarded town council services and events, and in stable and well-managed council finances.

Please do not believe these electioneering claims that the town council is run by corrupt extremists; it is just not true. And please let’s not reduce our town council, and the coming by-election, to unpleasant and untrue accusations.

John D Clare