CBC Cabinet Titbits

Things that we now know following the CBC Cabinet meeting this evening.

This was never supposed to be a LONG meeting; this was never supposed to be a LONG blog post.

Hey hoe.

Sometimes CBC Cabinet is like that – usually ahead of a set of local elections.

Fancy that.

The agenda had the appearance of an administration desperate to push through as much policy as possible, before the all out elections coming up in May.

Smithy’s Last Stand?

It didn’t take long for the campaigning to kick off, as soon as Labour’s Cllr Tim Young opened his mouth, to be honest.

Have Your Say saw a young chap speaking about the importance of protecting Salary Brook Valley as a green asset of community value.

Good points, well made.

But then the Coroner gatecrashed into the conversation, upsetting the hippy dippy green shit by blabbing that the young chap was a rival to his own political campaign.


No such transparency issues however with Green Mark Goacher then Having His Say.

This is the second consecutive time that Mark has spoken at Cabinet on housing issues. His three minutes of mic time on Wednesday was a plea to Cabinet to build on brownfield sites.

Plus also how to tackle the government’s recent rent restrictions and the need to BUILD, BUILD, BUILD.

Labour’s Cllr Bourne played to form, citing how the BAD NEWS of a 1% rent reduction imposed by central government on council houses has led to CBC having to stagnate on the Council house building project.

Cllr Bourne didn’t reference the LibLab plan to build over 800 new homes in the borough – all of which will be made available for either the commercial market or ‘affordable’ [debatable…] rents.

CBC Leader Cllr Paul Smith chose to answer the brownfield issue by banging his big yellow LibDem drum about how successful his administration has been.

Have Your Say had been had, next up was the Environmental Sustainable Strategy.

…which sadly was as dull as it sounded.

It’s all key stuff though. Basically it’s about how CBC can be a better, greener Council.

*note the use of the small g in greener*

Yer man from the Carbon Trust gave a presentation.

Apologies, but we took the chance to catch up with Facebook.

The headline news was that CBC is doing rather well, but could do better.

Like, Like, funny emoji of poo man posted for comic effect.

Tory Leader Cllr Willetts was calm in his appraisal, but added that Leisure World is wasting £1m a year.

The green credentials of the commercial arm of CBC were then open for debate. Cllr Smith was quick to claim that Leisure World is actually making money – which is a good thing, seeing as though CBC treats the public facility as a private cash cow.

If only the full financial analysis of Leisure World was made available for the “ordinary” people…

The Environmental Strategy then became something of a stinker.

A quite BONKERS rant by LibDem Cllr Nick Cope followed. The Christ Church ward Cllr wasn’t happy that CBC is using digital data storage. He preferred pen and paper to that nasty carbon emitting brave new world of the modern interweb.

He then let one drop, claiming that iPhones take up more energy than a fridge, before losing the plot slightly talking about cow shit.

And then we came to the Budget Update.

Oh Lordy.

The background here is that the LibLabIndie Cabinet has found an extra £180,000 to spend on sweeteners, after failing to TURN ON Sunny Colch with the street lighting plan put to ECC.

All ahead of an all out set of local elections as well.

Fancy that, etc.

Tory Cllr Willetts spoke first, questioning why £25,000 is going towards Prevent – a programme that tackles modern day slavery and abuse.

With the nomination papers still not yet signed, this was too much for the partisan beast that is Cllr Tim Young.

The Conservative Group Leader was heckled from the top table by his Labour counterpart.

We suspect that both secretly enjoyed the minor league political scuffle.

Cllr Young managed to clam down, and then confirmed that the doubling of the festival budget has already seen more than £40,000 worth of interested applicants stepping forward.

It’s also worth shining a light on how Tory policy has now become Labour policy, with Cllr Young accepting Cllr Darius Laws’ “obsession” with lighting up heritage assets.

Meanwhile, there was NO mention of Wonderhouse Mini-Me, despite the Cabinet paper stating that a proportion of the £180,000 would go towards trying to resurrect the vanity project.

Colchester Presents CIC did get a mention though. Having failed to be shortlisted for Big Choice, the organisation is now by-passing the democratic public vote, and being rewarded with £30k from the LibLabIndie Cabinet.

No declarations of interest were given ahead of the report being discussed.

LibDem Cllr Bill Frame was VERY keen to big up the CIC…

The Budget Update was agreed, and then we moved on to Digital Challenge.

We’re not entirely sure what the Digital Challenge is for CBC. It was never really explained 🙁

Indie Cllr B Oxford was rattled after hearing Cllr Willetts diss her ‘Customer Services’ [they mean residents] patch.

The response from the Portfolio Holder in relation to the CBC online services being a little patchy was… for residents to change broadband provider.

Oh dear.

Now we know *exactly* what the CBC Digital Challenge is…

Cabinet was now drifting, and so was our attention to be honest. The football had kicked off, and a “dodgy blogger” from “fashionable Hackney” has promises to keep.

We sat through another bloody presentation, this time on the Northern Gateway.

It was half decent to be honest.

Tory Cllr Ben Locker called for more community facilities to be incorporated into the plan, alongside the existing commercial opportunities.

The Mile End Cllr then threw a hand grenade into the room by stating in a public meeting that BMW had offered CBC £2m for a share of the site.

Cue looks of blind panic from CBC Officers, and some frantic whispering between Head of Legal and Leader Cllr Paul Smith.

Whoops – we don’t think that we should have sent that tweet.

A toilet break then took place. We had time to kill ahead of the next train back to fashionable Hackney. We stuck around for the second half – foolishly missing the second half of the football.

Just like the Arsenal game, it was a bit meh.

Having done her best Oh Woe is Me face on the EVIL Tory government housing policy, Labour’s Cllr Tina Bourne soon peaked up when it came to the Housing Development Strategy.

And so would you if you were about to announce that 890 new homes are going to be built by the Council, but NONE of them available for Council rent.

And then we got kicked out. The “ordinary” people were asked to leave the Grand Jury Room, ahead of *possible* £2m investments from BMW being discussed.