Cultural Quarter, Breaking Point & Urination: Full Council

A thoughtful, lively and at sometimes finger-wagging ideological Full Council meeting at CBC on Wednesday evening.

The SPOOKS were in the house for Halloween – or rather Andy Hamilton was outside on SEX WATCH.

Trick or treat?

I dare you.


Inside the Chamber and it seemed that CBC was without a Leader.

Which was a little unfortunate.

LibDem Cllr Mark Cory was ‘holidaying.’

No worries for all you keen watchers of CBC wafer thin majorities: Conservative Cllr Kevin Bentley was also AWOL, meaning that the ‘progressive alliance’ still had its rock solid majority of one to rely upon.

Have Your Say started the Halloween celebrations.

HYS stalwart Nick Chilvers made a few decent well-rehearsed points about Painter’s Yard.

Point of Order etc: when did the old bus station take on this name?

Tell It Like It Is, etc.

“People don’t want their grandchildren asking in years to come: who on earth approved that?”

Quite.

It was left to LibDem Cabinet member Cllr Nick Barlow to offer the line that the Planning Committee is ‘independent.’ It needn’t follow the wishes of the Cabinet.

Chair of Planning Cllr Pauline Hazell was keen to point out that her fiefdom is dictated by Planning law, and not necessarily the free will of her fellow members.

But someone will have to take responsibility once the Cultural Quarter has been *ahem* slaughtered.

Up next for HYS was Asa Aldis, rocking it in all the way from Wivenhoe. The Town Cllr and former Mayor of Wiv was Having His Say on the bloody Garden Villages.

This has been back on the agenda this week with the news that the Sustainability Appraisal (making the ‘unsound’ sound) has crept even further towards the Muddy Banks of the Colne.

“Remember: this plan has failed. It has simply been coloured in with a different coloured crayon.”

Nice line.

This led to a tit-for-tat with a man whose CV includes Tit-for-Tat Teller for hire.

Labour’s Cllr Tim Young denied that the ‘unsound’ plan had failed.

It won’t be winning any prizes at the Local Government Awards for Engagement, Honesty and Innovation either.

Next up to Have His Say was resident Trevor Orton.

We had the usual intro of how three minutes isn’t long enough to do a stand up act based on some old Colonel figure taken from the pages of the Daily Telegraph.

Time is an abstract concept, Comrade.

But best get on with, fella.

It was only when Mr Orton reached the final thirty seconds or so that his point became clear: Colchester is DIRTY.

Red lights and indiscretions” was a bit of a head scratcher.

LibDem Leader Cllr Martin Goss was given the honour of responding.

We heard the unsavoury fact that 29 tickets for pissing in the town centre streets were issued last Friday night.

Now wash your hands.

Cllr Goss added in the detail that “Jumbo is in our sights” – tbh it’s hard for it not to be.

Plus there was a reference for Byron Burgers to clean up its act on the empty shop front that won’t be opening any time soon, if indeed at all.

A final Have Your Say speaker was resident Katie Francis, returning once again to the Cultural Quarter.

Consultation and a fair process was the main focus.

Decent points, well made Madam.

Cllr Barlow referred Full Council to the points about the independence of Planning that he made earlier.

Some half decent announcements came from Mr Mayor.


Well done to Team [not sure what] at the Town Hall who have picked up a national award for [not sure what.]

QUALITY journalism.

Meanwhile in Poppy Knitting News:


Recommendations of the Cabinet, Panels and Committees was the first serious agenda item.

A Bluffer’s Guide to #localgov is that Cabinet makes decisions, Full Council then rubber stamps these.

Given that #localgov is partisan and party political, you’d be a bit of a prat of a local Cllr if you didn’t do what your party told you to do at Full Council.

The Year End Review of Risk Management was moved by LibDem Cabinet member Cllr Dave King.

We’ve got a lot of time for Cllr King; but no longer than ten minutes please.

He has impressed in his first few months as a Cllr and as a Cabinet member. Detail and facts are everything to the very sound and objective Cllr King.

Maybe he should have been asked to sub the ‘unsound’ bloody Garden Villages plan before it was sent off?

Speaking of which, ex-Tory Leader Cllr Dennis Willetts asked why the bloody Garden Village plans were not open to scrutiny.

Fellow Tory Cllr Lewis Barber chipped in with the claim that the Opposition is given little access to Budget papers.

The report was agreed, all the same.

And then we had Motions.

Oh Lordy.

A joint Motion on CBC adopting the IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism was always going to lead to a little internal Labour party bickering.

It’s a complex and emotive subject, and one that we’re not going to fall into the trap of mis-representing.

But a familiar theme at both Full Council and Cabinet of late is how the two sides of what is loosely called the Colchester Labour party play out their differences in public.

The Motion heard some moving speeches from Cllr’s speaking about racism within the town. Credit to LibDem Cllr Helen Chuah for sharing her personal experience.

There was a challenge from Tory Cllr Sue Lissimore that the Motion in the Council papers wasn’t the full IHRA definition. The claim was that examples weren’t included.

Mr Mayor took legal advice from CBC’s Andrew Weavers before declaring that the papers were correct.

The Motion was unanimously carried, with one abstention from Labour Cllr Lorcan Whitehead. This led to a round of applause from one half of the Colchester Labour party sitting in the public gallery.

A brief break, and then Full Council returned to debate the second Motion: Breaking Point.

This is a national Labour party move, passing down the suggestion that local Councils might like to get involved in a bit of Tory bashing during Budget week.

GOOD EFFORT from LibDem Cllr King once again who attempted to take the party politics out of the Motion by removing the word ‘Labour.’

Cllr Tim Young agreed to support the Amendment; he didn’t have much choice tbh. His Motion would have failed without the support of his LibDem ‘progressive alliance’ partners.

Resident and leading local Green campaigner Mark Goacher Had His Say. He called for “party political slanging” to be left out of the debate.

Mark Goacher is such a WAG.

Cllr Tim Young moved his (amended) Motion, telling Full Council that local government has been the whipping boy of central government.

Tory Cllr Willetts responded by saying that CBC is not at breaking point. He referenced the £16M surplus from last year.

Tory Leader Cllr Darius Laws asked if there had been a “whipping up of austerity.”

“This is a national Motion. We won’t be supporting it.”

His Conservative colleague Cllr Lewis Barber mentioned the money spent on the ‘unsound’ bloody Garden Villages and Vineyard Gate to make the point that CBC is not at breaking point.

Labour’s Cllr Whitehead made his Maiden Speech:

“We are suppose to be here to stand up for the people of Colchester. These aren’t efficiency savings, they are cuts. If you listen to Cllr Willetts then we are suppose to treat this as a virtue.”

Labour’s Cllr Julie Young placed Breaking Point in a local context:

#POTHOLES

“The demand from residents is that we have a good road network in Colchester. But I know that I have zero chance of delivering this because Essex County Council won’t provide the budget.”

Shire / Shy Tory Cllr John Jowers came close to being dragged over to the other side. He accepted that funding could be improved, but he wasn’t quite ready to politicise it.

Labour Cabinet member Cllr Mike Lilley spoke about his portfolio patch with a claim that could do with some fact checking. He told Full Council that the entire borough only has ten police officers. This team works shifts, with only three officers available for the whole borough at any one time.

Gosh.

Voting went straight down party political lines. The Labour Breaking Point Motion amended by the LibDems was carried.

Questions to Cabinet members followed.

It was that time in the evening [late] when The Chronic starts to think about the 9am school assembly back in S Ldn the next morning.

SEE YA!


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