And so Wednesday evening at the Town Hall sees the first meeting of the ‘new’ CBC Cabinet.
The local paper continues to call it the “Rainbow Coalition.”
But usually there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and so we’ll stick with the Cabinet with no Mandate, ta very much.
As a brief reminder, the Tories have the majority of Cllr’s with 43% being True Blues.
They have also have absolutely bugger all power – unless that nice Sir Bob carries out his pre-election suggestion of a return to the Committee system for #localgov.
Which all leaves us with a mishmash of half-decent local Cllr’s, misplaced representatives thrust forward, and the plain old political careerists doing very well thank you very much out of their Cabinet ‘allowance.’
Sadly we won’t be able to make the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening. Like most “ordinary people“, we have work.
It’s a fairly unadventurous agenda [pdf] to be honest.
You get what you vote for, Comrades.
We did enjoy a bit of theatrical entertainment however in reading the first item agenda:
Mercury Theatre Redevelopment
The Cabinet report talks about signing off on Stage One, to enable Stage Two.
Exit Stage Left Cllr X…?
We *think* that we have understood this correctly: left foot forward, right foot next, arse / elbow.
What Cabinet is being asked is to approve the spending of the £478,730 Arts Council grant in relation to The Mercury.
But what will this be spent on?
…a detailed application to try and blag a further £3.5m out of the Arts Council.
Job’s a good ‘un, etc.
And so it seems that the Arts Council has dished out just under half a million pounds to CBC, just so that an application can be made for… another application.
You could write a most entertaining play depicting this whole process. We’re not sure if it would be a comedy or a tragedy.
Given the CBC Cabinet players involved, it most certainly wouldn’t be a love story.
The total cost of the redevelopment is £9m and is also supported by a direct contribution of £1m by Colchester Council and £1m from Essex County Council. The Mercury has a fund raising target of £1.8m.
Elsewhere on the agenda for Wednesday evening is:
Repair to the Roman Walls
£107,069 has been spent by CBC on repairing the walls over the past twelve years. A further £522,900 is available in the kitty.
We will be most disappointed if the “heritage obsessed” Cllr Darius Laws isn’t in attendance to scrutinise the process.
But perhaps the most serious agenda item on Wednesday evening involves housing with the:
Colchester Borough Homes Private Sector Leasing Scheme
This is explained as:
“Private sector landlords can be reluctant to provide accommodation directly to people who are threatened with homelessness. It is intended that the Scheme will be of interest to private sector landlords because the Council will be responsible for the rent and the condition of the properties in accordance with the terms of any lease agreed.”
Essentially Cabinet is being asked to agree to do a deal with private landlords around the town, to try and appease their prejudices.
It is more of a comment on private landlords than of Council policy.
The Cabinet report adds:
“At the end of March 2016, 28 households were living in bed and breakfast accommodation, of which 13 were families and 15 were single people. Of these, 24 households were placed outside of the Borough.”
It is a sobering reminder that despite the circumstances that led to the formation of this administration, the role of Cabinet is still crucial.
Unless Sir Bob comes along, that is.