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Scarborough Borough Council, That’s Democracy ?? Or at least that’s what they tell us it is. By Richard Inneson
Dear Real Whitby,
I Went to the Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet meeting this morning, only two Ipads in evidence, apparently our Councillors are being trained in the ways of the Ipad, in waves, and the tide has not yet reached the Cabinet. I had a word with Dolly Clegg pre -meeting, apparently ‘it had been a very long day on Sunday’, then I was booted upstairs into the minstrels gallery; the meeting opened, suddenly this woman in black stood up and read out the following statement –
Tom Fox asked her to be quiet, she carried on, they sent two men up to deal with her but she kept jumping over the benches, eventually, Tom Fox abandoned the meeting while she burnt herself out, she then threw a pile of leaflets over the balcony onto Dolly Clegg and Co. and left.
I went downstairs to see who was in the Council Chamber, somebody asked me if I knew anything about the woman, I told them that I had never seen her before in my life, which is true.
The meeting resumed – another bombshell, Tom Fox went on about the town hall move and then recommended that they adopt option A which is not to move, there were a few others besides myself, in the gallery, he looked up at us and said,’ now is the time for a round of applause’, which they gave him.
The funny thing was that as soon as Fox said that he was against the move to Eastfield, the others all started saying that they had always thought that it was a bad idea, ‘Order of the Brown Nose’ all round. JK said, ‘I am more than comfortable to support option A’.
Yet, only a few weeks ago, 20th March, she was all for the move. –
Coun Jane Kenyon backed the plans saying the money that would be used on maintaining the town hall could be better spent on other services.
“You don’t need to do a straw poll whether people think this is a good idea or bad.
“I don’t think you would get three per cent caring a jot about this building and there would not be much difference in Filey.
“The issue for me is very clear – the money we need to spend over the next 25 years to make this building fit for purpose.
“The days of buildings like this are going and we can stand still and get demolished by the future. We have to move forward into an enlightened age and provide services for our residents.”
And this, last minute, about turn, after all this money has been spent on the Council Cross Party Focus Group, Public and Business Panel meetings, the Urban Space Group, visits by all and sundry to (No) Prospect House, union consultations, staff transport access studies, Morrison’s car park consultation partnership (100 spaces to be made available except at Christmas and Easter), staff shopping surveys, surveyor’s reports, (read this,it makes grim reading, it is attached to today’s Cabinet agenda, Prospect House, reading between the lines, seems, as you would expect, to be virtually derelict) town centre economic impact assessment, feasibility studies, detrimental effects on sales of humbugs and pear drops in the local community, the costing of each option etc. etc. etc.
The Cabinet decision has to be ratified by the full Council so they might still change their minds.
Tom Fox admitted that Council services and staff numbers were contracting, he said that the present offices were too big for their purpose, and that they would soon find that they were all rattling around in Prospect House if they went ahead, mentioned peripatetic working and shared desk opportunities.
He said that the actual Town Hall was in good order but that the newer bits were in a deplorable state, ‘windowless rooms’ ‘gents toilets leaking into the canteen’ ‘staff using towels to soak rain water up on window sills’ legal papers constantly wet through’, ‘staff sandwiches going mouldy’ you get the picture.
He went on to mention a ‘possible option to knock some of it down’, also mentioned opportunity to influence, ‘new ways of working’’ shared desk opportunities, ‘peripatetic working’.
A Labour councillor turned up, Eric somebody, he claimed that the Labour group had told them that the move was a non starter, he got jeered by Tom Fox’s acolytes, I half expected them to start throwing things at him, it was just like watching the House of Commons at play.
After the town hall item nearly everybody in the public gallery went home but I stayed for the other items.
Usual supporting cast Hilary, Bennett etc. all laughing at Tom’s jokes.
Nick Edwards came across well, let us hope that he is not following in Trebbel’s footsteps.
Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling instalment, or why not go along yourself? It is better than Constipation Street.