Things that we now know following the CBC Cabinet meeting this evening…
The Culver Street West traders have been politicised and pushed around by politicians of all parties who are jostling for pole position ahead of 7 May
Have Your Say was EPIC.
That’s EPIC as in TEN public speakers, plus half a dozen Cllr’s. It was so EPIC that we missed out on our promise later in the evening.
No surprises that the Culver Street West street traders situation took up all of the time.
You don’t say.
This was no ordinary Cabinet meeting. It was standing room only by the time the WEIRD LibLab Cabinet members filed into the Grand Jury Room after their private *proper* Cabinet meeting.
The fashion accessory for the evening was an SOS T-Shirt: Save Our Street… traders.
Looky looky over here – it was so much in vogue that half the Tory Cllr’s decided to T-shirt up.
Have Your Say itself was a mixture of heartache and heckles.
We heard some genuinely moving stories about how family livelihoods will be taken away if the Culver Street West traders are forced to move.
We also heard some industrial language from the floor, and the threat from Shark Eyes Cllr Hunt to clear the Grand Jury Room.
A petition with over 7,500 signatures opposing the move was handed over. Cllr Hunt responded with confirmation that an EGM will now take place on… 1 April.
This is pretty much protocol. 1,800 signatures means that an issue needs to be debated at Full Council.
But with no Full Council scheduled as the Council hibernates into purdah, the request by Cllr Will Quince for an EGM has been granted.
Ah yes – Cllr Will Quince.
Much like the firstsite is crap debate, Cllr Quince played a blinder.
The Culver Street West traders have been politicised by ALL SIDES.
The LibDem members of the WEIRD Cabinet remain keen to shift the traders – and make them cough up more.
The Comrades of the Colchester Labour party meanwhile appeared ever so slightly shifty in all of this debate, sitting on their hands and not exactly stepping forward to support the working men and women of Sunny Colch.
We wonder why…
All that will happen now is that a motion will be debated at the EGM. With the next round of local elections so close, some of the LibDems back benchers might agree to support the traders.
But then what?
The motion will just be bounced back to Cabinet.
Timing is everything here.
It is likely to be the first Cabinet meeting post the 7 May elections that gets to vote on any outcome. If it is the same old same with the WEIRD LibLab Cabinet, then Same as it Ever Was.
The Culver Street West traders will be shifted.
But *if* there is a different administration all wearing trendy SOS T-shirts, then there will no doubt be a totally different ‘apolitical’ outcome.
Funny old business, local politics.
Especially in Sunny Colch.
Plus don’t forget the six month stay of execution that LibDem Portfolio Holder Cllr Anne Turrell has granted the traders.
Once again this is simply a mechanism to play for extra time to see where we all are politically post 7 May.
Meanwhile traders will have stock to order, bills to pay and no confirmation of what their future is in Colchester.
What we do know is that there will be a new LibDem Leader post 7 May, who just also might be the Leader of CBC.
LibDem Cllr Martin Goss wasted no time in disagreeing with his current Leader so publicly. We’d wager that the order for his SOS T-shirt went in as soon as he got back from his recent honeymoon.
Clearly not wearing the T-shirt was Cllr Turrell.
The lady most certainly wasn’t for turning (although she is stepping aside at CBC…)
“A small minority wants to scupper the plans for the new Colchester High Street Market”
…was the pre-prepared script in response to the 7,500+ signature.
Cllr Turrell was in a minority of one.
There was a shout from the floor of:
“Labour’s Tim Young: don’t support this shower…”
Labour’s Tim Young meanwhile was too busy reading the Cabinet papers to take any notice.
And that was Have Your Say on the street traders. There wasn’t anything to vote for as it wasn’t a Cabinet item.
But the EGM *will* take place on 1 April. The Public Gallery will be full, fingers will be pointed and politicians will continue to shuffle their Council papers.
Plus the street traders will continue to be politicised – even more so with both the General Election and local election coming ever closer.
Elections are never won on single issues.
We reckon that Cllr Turrell and her LibDem lot already know that.
Cllr Quince may be about to find out.
MESSY old business, not least so for the traders.
It’s all about the detail in Cabinet papers – the detail that you mention, and the detail that you choose to leave out
Labour’s Cllr Tina Bourne talked a good talk when it came to her New Housing Strategy for Colchester 2015-2020.
She talked, and talked, and talked.
But she didn’t talk about the EVIL Bedroom Tax style wording in her own Cabinet paper:
“Reducing under-occupation by using incentives to encourage tenants to downsize.”
Cllr Turrell’s language was a little more acceptable.
“I’m really proud Cabinet is building council houses again.”
COUNCIL HOUSES, Comrade.
Tell It Like It Is, etc.
None of this Third Way twaddle of ‘social housing’ silliness.
We LOVE council houses.
CBC Cabinet is learning to as well.
Streets Lights and Localism: What went wrong?
Have Your Say on the TURNING ON of the Sunny Colch street lights was much more considered.
This was CBC Cabinet at its best – both residents and politicians.
Local nurse Julia described in great detail how her colleagues are left to pick up the pieces when it comes to the lack of lighting across the borough.
Have Your Say veteran Nick Chilvers had a more cautious approach:
“You will create a precedent by paying for street lights. What budget will you slash in future to pay for it?”
As stake here was CBC agreeing to self-fund the TURNING ON of the street lights across the borough to the tune of £185,000.
There is a surplus in the budget for the previous financial year to cover this. There may not be a surplus in future financial years to repeat the great TURN ON.
Plus ECC still need to agree to this.
Localism ‘aint all that great if we’re being totally honest.
SIX Cllr’s then stepped forward to speak. All speeches were personal, rather than political. Cabinet minds were changed as a result.
Like we said – CBC Cabinet at its very best.
Cllr Goss was good on detail. There is a discrepancy with the figures quoted by ECC – £130,000 to £185,00 – or funding for five public toilets out in the rural sticks, if you like.
This was to be a crucial point. Cabinet agreed to fund the TURNING ON of the street lights, but only after Scrutiny had given the figures a good old seeing to.
Three Cllr’s abstained: Barlow, Smith and Turrell.
The Mercury Theatre isn’t politicised
Who would have thought it?
The Mercury Theatre doesn’t have a vote…
But it does have £80,000 from CBC to help pay for the much-needed refurbishments.
Cabinet items gets shorter as the Cabinet meetings progress
The Living Wage report was agreed with little debate. It basically encourages private sector companies that CBC does business with to pay staff a Living Wage.
Commercial Confidentiality is crap
It means that we are often thrown out of Cabinet meetings.
And so we can’t blog about the Magdalen Street bus depot that CBC wants to flog off to a private developer.
For all we know it could be a consortium that wants to buy out the Culver Street West street traders and dump them all on the outskirts of town for a higher priced pitch.
‘cos that would *never* happen, would it?
See ya on April Fool’s Day, Comrades.