Stop press Weather is bad so protest is off. Will take place if it ever stops raining
This is where the balloon used to sit before it got damaged in a small storm earlier in the year. That storm created a wind speed of 43 mph and the balloon was supposed to be able to stand higher wind speeds than that. I have heard that one of the cables holding the balloon down came lose and hit the balloon and £30 000 worth of helium vanished into the Devon skies and the wind then tore the balloon to shreds.
Mind you that storm was nothing compared to the storm that followed the revelation that no rent had been paid to Torbay council all the time the balloon had been in action. The elected mayor, a Mr Gordon Oliver has so far refused to either explain fully why no rent has been paid or hold an enquiry in to why this state of affairs carried on for so long. He claims it would be improper to do so as there is an on going legal wrangle in to the dispute. We, the people of Torbay, have no idea of the nature of this dispute or to what stage, legally, it has reached. For all we know it could consist of a letter from the council pointing out that the owners of the balloon th
at they haven't paid any rent and would they mind doing so. Or, worse still, very well paid council lawyers could at this very moment be engaged in behind the scenes negotiations with very well paid lawyers on the balloon owners side. As the sum involved is £50 000 it could turn out that the negotiations cost more than the value of the rent.
Anyway, a local councillor for Tormolun ward here in Torquay, one Darren Cowell is trying to get the mayor to hold an inquiry in to the affair. Yesterday, Saturday, he was out in the rain in Paignton collecting signatures on a petition. On Sunday 10 June, probably also in the rain he will be down at the balloon site at 3pm continuing to collect signatures. I will go along and talk to people, find out what the mood is, try and judge the strength of feeling the lack of rent payments ha
s generated. I will also be interested in what people think of our elected mayor and his performance so far.
I will also take one or two photos as well.
Personally I would prefer the site to be cleared of all the mess that is there now and a retirement home be found for the poor innocent balloon.