Committee Switch Provides Problem For Councillors

wesleyan chapel 2A proposal to change the Local Plan sub-committee that would mean the public and some councillors would no longer be able to attend meetings, proved to be a problem at Tuesday’s Planning Meeting.

A report by Senior Infrastructure Manager Craig Dryden proposed changing the current sub-committee into a working party.

Craig said it would speed up the work needed to produce the new Local Plan, an important document that will guide development on the islands for the next decade.

The change was supported by Council Chairman Amanda Martin, who said it would work better and be more efficient.

But Cllr Gordon Bilsborough pointed out that changing the status from a committee would mean the public could no longer attend the meetings.

Gordon said the Local Plan covers a wide range of interests and people affected by it will want to hear the arguments for and against.

He felt keeping out the public wasn’t a good idea if there was nothing to hide.

That view was echoed by Cllr Colin Daly. He said it was “asking for trouble” and there were “bound to be allegations about what went on” in the meetings.

But Cllr Martin said there was “no intention to hide anything from anybody.”

And she said islanders would have plenty of chance to contribute as part of the consultation work.

Craig added that all the recommendations will have to be made public as they’ll have to go through the Planning Committee for approval.

Cllr Fran Grottick pointed out another problem with the proposal. She said it would also mean that councillors who weren’t members of the group wouldn’t be able to attend.

But that created confusion with Cllr Christine Savill claiming they could if they were invited by the Chairman, but not to vote, while Cllr Martin said the rules meant they wouldn’t even be able to sit in the public gallery.

Admin staff at the meeting couldn’t provide a definitive answer.

Cllr Bilsborough said it was, “not democratic to say these members can go and these can’t.”

That brought a swift response from Committee Chairman Gaz O’Neill who replied, “If this committee decides that this is they way it wants to operate then it will be democratic.”

In the end, councillors voted to accept the switch to a working group and an amendment proposed by Colin Daly to allow the public access was defeated.

A proposal by Fran Grottick to allow more members to attend wasn’t even put to the vote because the original proposal had already been passed.

5 Responses to Committee Switch Provides Problem For Councillors

  1. meme May 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Having just watched the video.(see Annie) and the only words I can find is “what a shambles of a meeting” badly conducted by the Chairman of the Committee, poor standards indeed; these are the folks running our Council, what a mess

  2. Ray Wornes May 26, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I have lost all hope of getting fair representation on any part of the Local Plan before the policy is decided because Councillors should know that once the policy of the developers is proposed and accepted as part of a secret debate, by a chosen few Councillors, behind closed doors then all other representations automatically become an objection to those proposals and have an impossible job to turn around those decisions. That is not democracy that is time honoured sharp practice. Residents who will be seriously affected by a commercial application like that which has just been passed for Pendrathen should have been notified of that application so that they could make objections before any decision had been debated or decided. If an application on the Planning Committee List is unseen by the people and householders who could be seriously affected then they have no chance at all of changing anything. I’ve had 30 years of this kind of loss of democratic rights which has taken its toll. Even the discussions on the Waste Forum are pre determined because those decisions are already made before the proposals are debated at the Forum. This isn’t democracy and you all know it. All proposals should have the same chance of being considered before any decisions take place. For that to happen the community must be given an opportunity to enter their own plans before discussions begin involving all Councillors. Help should be given to any individual who wants to put forward a plan. Why should this community accept any of the plans being progressed in this unfair and undemocratic way?

    • Ewart Less May 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Hmm, not the change you wanted then Ray, sow the wind reap the whirlwind.

  3. Yetanoth May 21, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    After your prompt I watched the debate, or should I say debacle one can only hope that this one doesn’t go viral. It was ACTUALLY embarrassing.

  4. Annie May 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    If anyone has any doubts about whether or not this council is run properly just watch the first 40 minutes of the recent planning meeting here:

    Absolutely shocking lack of knowledge about the council’s processes from both councillors and staff, some of whom have been with the council for years. Going to Cornwall is a bad option, but is it any worse than this circus?