Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Localism - oops

A month ago, councillors from East Cornwall spent a day looking at alternative venues for planning meetings in the old North Cornwall area. This was because it had been proposed that the Police should move into the building at Camelford and this would mean the loss of the meeting room. For a full run down of the subject, see my previous blogpost.

At the end of that day, we unanimously agreed that none of the venues we had seen were suitable and that meetings should continue to be held in Camelford until a decent alternative could be found.

Today we discovered that Cabinet Member Lance Kennedy (who did not come on the tour of sites) has ignored that recommendation and it has been decided that meetings will be held in Bodmin. I'm a bit unclear as to who made the decision. Logically, it should have been Cllr Kennedy. If a group of councillors write with a recommendation to the Cabinet Member then it is not for officers to make a different decision without the Cabinet Member's say so. But Cllr Kennedy said it was not his decision at today's meeting (and as he is also a Bodmin Town Councillor and Bodmin TC owns the proposed venue, it would seem a conflict of interest for him to make the decision in any case).

Today Cllr Kennedy was asked if he would review his decision and he said no. He then proceeded to lead the Cabinet in voting down a formal amendment demanding reconsideration.

Also at today's meeting, we had yet another report from Cllr Kennedy on localism which failed to mention anything except the Newquay Safe project. Whilst that is a very good scheme and deserves to be promoted, it does seem odd that, for the past five months, Cllr Kennedy has had nothing else to say to full council meetings about anything else in the localism agenda. My colleague Jeremy Rowe even asked him what else he had to say on the subject and he appeared first dumbfounded and then speechless. So we are none the wiser.

1 comment:

ohwhatcanitmean said...

This is all very strange, especially as the police proposal in Camelford is *far* from a done deal - it's tied up, at least in part, with the ongoing palaver over the old primary school site and the proposed new medical centre. I see Lance Kennedy hasn't changed much in twenty years!

From the beginning, the Tory/Ind council has been running away from the localist commitments made at the time of the unitary authority's inception. We are now left with an (almost) unaccountable, centralised LA with none of the proposed devolution to the Community Networks (though we're still paying for Network Managers to do no-one knows quite what, least of all they). Come back NCDC, all is forgiven :(