Last Saturday, a small protest took place outside the Mad Hatter’s cafe in Alvaston Park over Derby City Council’s decision not to extend the £5500 pa lease on the property. The extension of the lease would allow this very popular cafe to continue trading beyond 31 March 2017. Following the hard work of the Mad Hatter’s team, to develop the business over 6 years, the goodwill, and the enhanced community spirit, the Council wants to take it over, and reap the rewards of their hard work to generate a few thousand pounds profit.
The owners, employees, and most importantly, all of the customers are vehemently against this decision. They want the current team to continue running the cafe; they know that if the Council take it over, it will go the way of similar enterprises….different staff, poorer service, higher prices, restricted opening hours.
It is in these circumstances that local Councillor support is critical. Alvaston, like all wards in Derby is served by 3 Councillors, 2 from UKIP ( Alan Graves and John Evans) and 1 from Labour ( Paul Bayliss – since 1996, and ex-Leader). Regardless of who runs the Council, the Councillor must be out serving the best interests of their constituents – those who voted them in. Cllr Paul Bayliss seems to be focussed on undermining their case.
In a Facebook post, containing a brief video of the demonstration on Saturday, entitled
“From today ! So heart wrenching “
Bayliss’s response was:
This is Cllr Bayliss, making public, confidential information, about the payment history of an organisation that has a private contractual relationship with Derby City Council. This is not publicly available information ( and would not be available under Freedom of Information). Bayliss was either briefed on this, or went in search of negative information about the Mad-Hatter’s cafe.
This curt comment was followed up by an appeal from 2 local people:
To which Bayliss responded:
But as another poster recognised….it is time for Bayliss to stand up for his constituents….and vote on principle, and not party lines
However, as this poster identified, Cllr Bayliss’s comments regarding the rent were somewhat out of place.
Bayliss may have represented his ward for 20 years, but he seems not to have understood what it means to maintain confidentiality. He is clearly sprung-loaded to argue against the wishes of his constituents despite the significant number of people wanting the Mad Hatter’s cafe to be kept open. Has he lost sight of who he is there to represent, who voted him in, and who he accounts to, and for what….a few thousand pounds?
Breaching confidentiality breaks the Councillor’s Code of Conduct and is a Standards Committee issue.
Note: This article has been written with the consent of the tenants at Mad Hatter’s Cafe
Categories: Derby City Council