There is something decidedly fishy going on here

You may need to familiarise yourself with these two posts before continuing:

A coach park for Warrior Square – another example of Milton ward being dumped again by the Conservative administration

£641,400 for a temporary solution – tax-payers money spent on the whim of one councillor

You would imagine that if asking a relatively straightforward and simple question you would not get four different answers. You would imagine. I have asked the following question:

“It was agreed to proceed with Warrior Square as the most suitable site for the coach park and this is now within the Planning process.”

Who was it agreed by?

Answer 1 (senior council officer):
This was considered and agreed by the Project Team in consultation with the Portfolio Holder, Leader and Deputy Leader.

Answer 2 (senior council officer):
Apologies, too quick on typing my response and I have sent you incorrect information. Consultation was with Cllr Cox not the Leader.

Answer 3 (Cllr Tony Cox):
I was asked for my input by XXXXXXXXXX on some potential locations from a transport perspective along with the portfolio holder for Planning, Andrew Moring who has the asset in Warrior Square as this paper and proposal will not come under name I haven’t has any input with regards to consultation with ward members. I believe John lamb may also have been asked with his regeneration hat on.

Normally when a paper is under my name, yes, I am asked for a decision to approve then I ask if the ward members can be informed. As in the past the ward members have been informed either via email or at a face to face meeting.

Answer 4 (Cllr Andrew Moring):
The requirement to relocate the coach park was laid out in the paper relating to the redevelopment of Seaways car park, this scheme was approved by Council.

Officers identified options and worked up costs. The preferred site for the new coach park was recommended by officers and selected by myself as the Portfolio Holder for property, Cllr Cox as the Portfolio Holder for transport and John Lamb as the Portfolio Holder for regeneration, based on the information provided and I am confident it is the most sensible option, being close to the seafront and adjacent to the town centre. It is also adjacent to the road which the majority of coaches would already travel along so does not increase traffic stress in the town. It is also adjacent to an existing car park.

This is a decision to progress a preferred scheme to the planning stage where all interested parties will have an opportunity to comment.

I think it fair to say that whichever answer is correct (and I have to presume that the latest is the nearest to the actual truth) there is something distinctly odd about this decision. For starters, £641,400 is no trivial sum of money and so I wonder why the process did not involve all councillors. Why is this being rushed through ahead of the local elections (when even the Tories privately admit they will lose heavily)? Why hasn’t the Portfolio holder for Planning, who is a Milton member, been kicking up a fuss about his ward being dumped on again (mind you, he has form when it comes to accommodating the wishes of his Leader to the detriment of his residents).

If the process that allowed this decision to happen with just three, or perhaps four, councillors involved can be described as both transparent and democratic then I am a Frenchman.

Je ne suis pas de la France.

2 Responses to There is something decidedly fishy going on here

  1. jayman says:

    my favourite bit “Officers identified options and worked up costs”—- I think that was supposed to be ‘worked out’. ‘worked up’ almost sounds like a blatant inflation of the costs involved. For legal reasons I am advised to say ‘im sure it was probably a typo’

  2. Pingback: Pants on fire | Julian's musings

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