Friday, 19 July 2013

Delaware & Priory - a motion to confuse

At last nights council meeting we saw the Independent Party employing a rarely used procedure to force a debate questioning the current consultation process on the future of Delaware House and Priory House. As with many Independent gambits this left me with a distinctly unpleasant feeling and concern that whilst endeavouring to extract some political benefit from a difficult and sensitive issue they have actually only served to confuse those directly effected. The current consultation will close on 1st September and the motion requested cabinet to effectively cease the consultation and start again because of alleged problems with the consultation document. The ridiculous element is that cabinet does not meet until later in September and accordingly the motion will not be considered until after the consultation period had closed. Strict instructions were given by the Mayor to ensure that contributions were limited to the mechanics of the consultation and not the underlying issue and whilst these were followed by the proposer Cllr Morgan and some others a number of indies could not resist commenting on the proposal itself giving rise to a possible argument that they have pre determined ahead of the outcome of the consultation. Following advice from officers I indicated that I would not speak to the motion or vote so ensure that there could be no risk of creating the impression that I had in any way predetermined and this was followed by other cabinet members and a range of other councillors across all party groups meaning that whilst the motion was carried it had the support of a minority of the members present with the abstentions in the majority. What is important is that all interested parties should understand that this has no effect on the current consultation and it is essential that they tell us what they think so that their views are taken into account.This can include concerns as to the consultation itself. Cabinet will take careful account of these views before deciding how to proceed. Let us hope that yesterday's ploy by the Indies does not leave any resident feeling that they no longer need to respond to the consultation.

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