A few months ago we launched a 38 degrees petition on the topic of Wiltshire Council imposing a levy on all supermarkets in the county.
The object of the levy is to raise money that can be used to lower the charges at council car parks. This will enable local traders to compete with the supermarkets and restore vitality to our high streets.
In a relatively short period of time, and with limited publicity, nearly 300 people signed the petition. In November we took a notice of motion to Wiltshire Council.
Rather than going for a vote, the ruling Conservative group referred the motion to the scrutiny committee. This met on January 7 2014.
Again, rather than going for a straight decision, the Conservative dominated committee passed the buck to a further body - the Development Panel.
There was something of a valid reason in doing this. For during the debate, it was obvious that there were many misconceptions and a lack of understanding regarding the relevant Act of Parliament and the practical powers of such a levy.
Therefore, the Development Panel was tasked with inviting somebody to Trowbridge who has worked on such proposals elsewhere. Then we could have a detailed question and answer session for all councillors.
That in summary is where we currently are with the supermarket levy issue. We have to say that the ruling Conservative group don’t seem to be in any particular hurry to progress the matter. It seems very much a case of stall and delay. No firm date has yet been scheduled for the promised information session.
Perhaps they hope it will go away. We will continue to pressure them get a move on.
Terry Chivers and Jeff Osborn, Independent Wiltshire Councillors