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Wednesday 7 October – Penrith West – last day

Today was the final day of campaigning in the Eden District Council by-election for Penrith West. Before going on the stump I sat in on the Licensing Committee meeting in the Town Hall. The Committee Chairman, Cllr Roy Fisher went out of his way to make me welcome. It was actually particularly interesting on a number of counts. Firstly there is a welcome relaxation by Westminster on the licensing restrictions on village halls. Only 3 village halls in Eden, out of 80, have gone through the necessary hoops to sell alcohol. Cllr Fisher also pointed out an anomoly in the law – namely that if a hall is owned by Cumbria or Eden Councils they can recover back their VAT. If the hall is owned by (e.g.) the parish council, they cannot reclaim VAT. There was also a report on the Kendal Calling Festival, which is confusingly now held near Penrith rather than Kendal. I went to the previous year’s festival and greatly enjoyed it. This year the council officials went, and they greatly enjoyed it! Well the reporting officer deadpanned that the dance tent wasn’t quite to his taste, but on the whole he was fulsome in his praise of the event. Finally he introduced a new gizmo:
cctvThis device is about the size of a mobile phone, and clips to the jacket of the council official at chest height. S/he is then able to record video and sound for up to 4 hours, downloadable on to computer. This provides a record of any awkward moments that a licensing officer may come across. It costs £558 each.

Then it was out on the campaign, here is a photo of the candidate, David Whipp, with Councillors Richardson, Thompson and Raine, out in Castletown, Penrith. Later on we were joined by Fiona Bruce, one of the other Open Primary candidates.


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