Friday 22 July 2016

Sketch from the chamber

I have a front row seat at Full Council, sat right next to Cllr Ian Gilbert, the Leader to whom I am Deputy.

It was a three fan night; two over on the Tory side of the chamber, one for the opposition. See, this is what administration brings, twice as many fans as those who are there to who you to account. We melted, despite the Mayor inviting us to remove our jackets; this socialist is made of sterner stuff. No comfort for me (even if it did encourage sleepiness at times).

Missing from this occasion were three from the one-fan brigade; Clrs Van Looy and Ward from the Independent Group, and Willis from Labour.

We had a fifteen break at 8.45pm, allowing those who were wilting to take on liquids. I popped out for a cuppa before then, so maybe not so tough after all.

Word of the night - 'plethora'. There was a plethora of plethoras!

So, I asked a question at the beginning. I also asked questions under the following reserved minutes:

32a:        Milton Ward EN/15/00176/UNUA - 1-3 Warrior Square
81:          Corporate Risk Register 2016/2017
102:        Former Beecroft Art Gallery Building

I also commented on

109:        Temporary Traffic Management measures - The Fairway, A127 and Bellhouse Lane
153:        Suggested In depth Scrutiny Projects - 2016/17

Under Ward EN/15/00176/UNUA I was hoping that the Chair of Development Control would assure us that conservation area rules would be strictly upheld. No assurance was offered.

Under Corporate Risk Register 2016/2017 I wondered why, since the administration believes the no diminution of services will result from reduced budgets, the Council had been so wasteful in the past. I got a woolly answered which suggested that £60 million plus of savings can be made by better IT and more efficient processes. I do not believe it. Cuts will affect services

Under the  Former Beecroft Art Gallery Building item I welcomed news that the building would be preserved, and hoped that rental incomes would be monitored to guarantee its future.

We voted on the size of the joint place and policy and resources programme working party. The vote on ten members was tied, and the Mayor cast in favour of ten places. This means that two extra places were allocated. Cllr Assenheim (Independent Group) got one of them, the Tories wanted Cllr McGlone (UKIP), but had to appoint Cllr Bright (Conservative) when it was pointed out to them that they could not appoint someone who was not on either of the Scrutiny Committees.

A subsequent item saw UKIP eventually take up their scrutiny places. Perhaps the Coalition realised that UKIP's reluctance to scrutinise meant that the administration would often be out-numbered.

The meeting closed at 11.30pm.

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