PROPOSALS to provide computer tablets costing up to £2,500 for Shaw and Crompton’s Parish Councillors have been rejected.
Monies would have been provided from the sale of the Council’s previous offices on High Street.
Cllr John Hall sought a consensus from fellow members at the Council’s January meeting to proceed with progressing the idea.
But only four of the 10 councillors present voted in favour so the plans have been shelved.
Cllr Howard Sykes called the idea “a massive overprovision.”
He added: “Would people have them and use them? If you haven’t got Wi-Fi at home, you have got an expensive piece of kit you can’t use.
“I have no problem supporting members but do we really need 16 tablets?
“I am not convinced we do. I am quite happy to say I don’t want one and I wouldn’t want the Parish wasting its money.
“I think it’s overkill. If there are people who can’t get connected, then perhaps we need to address that first on an individual basis.
“I don’t understand what we gain from it.
“John has said one of the advantages is forcing us down the paperless route.
“But as I look round this room, despite the choices we make, nearly everyone round the room is using a piece of paper.
“Paperless doesn’t work. I go to paperless meetings and I don’t like it.”
Cllr Hall explained the idea was to “place all councillors on a level field of communication so we have the same type of communication and we have the same ability to communicate.”
He argued that tablets would cut down on the cost of postage and save time for clerk Tony Hilton.
“I just need feedback whether to go down this route because I don’t want to waste my time if it is not an avenue we want to go down,” he said.
He explained the cost of 16 tablets would between £1,500-£2,500 “depending on the tablets we require”.
Cllr Shaun Duffy said: “I do agree getting everyone on a level playing field is beneficial to the Council.
“We have spoken about bringing the Council into the 21st Century and this is obviously going to be a big advantage to that.
“But do I think the pros outweighs the cons in having tablets?
“I don’t think Cllr Hall is suggesting it is mandatory but the option is available and I would be happy to support that.”
Cllr Louie Hamblett added: “I can see the advantages but it is perhaps a case for individual councillors rather than one size fits all?”
Cllr Hall confirmed there was money available for tablets in the budget after the sale of the High Street premises, which raised £69,000.
And clerk Tony Hilton said: “Cllr Hall has had a shopping list the Council has been looking to prioritise. In that shopping list tablets came up.”
However, Cllr Sykes added: “There is loads of cheaper stuff I think can help engage with people and make it more user friendly to people than tablets.
“So, can we crack on and spend some of it because clearly there is a lot still sat there.”
The plan was outvoted five-four, with Cllr Hall abstaining.