Much as we would like to give the taxpayers of Boston the ‘full monty’ about the proposed sale of the Assembly Rooms there is still a confidential label on important parts of that information.
This confidential tag had been imposed on the report to members before last Monday’s Extraordinary Council and was further reinforced on the night by the Conservative majority vote to kick the press and public out of the Council Chamber during consideration of the matter.
Opposition attempts to allow press and public to stay were swatted down by the administration’s ‘formation hand raising team’; as was a protest that the report could have been written in a manner that would not require a ban on public presence.
Opposition members are mindful however that what we are allowed to tell our council taxpayers on this issue should be told.
So what can we say whilst avoiding the ‘confidential’ areas of the debate, as required to do on pain of censure, suspension or worse.
First the limited number of members making the ‘sell’ decision.
This was not the case we were assured; all of the conservative group (not just the Secret Seven) had been consulted on the issue! So – yah boo to you if you are not one of our gang.
The leader then lamely tried that old trick ‘well you could have had all this info and a chance to have your say (but not a vote) if you had attended our Cabinet Meeting on July 25’.
Secondly the debate centred around the possible loss of our Market Place toilets.
The reason for the uncertainty is because apparently noone – officer, cabinet member nor the much-consulted Conservative party – has seen any draft contract, projected business plan, maintenance/repair schedules.
Researched information was presented to support the need for the public facility continuing; but to no avail.
A proposal supported by the 11 opposition councillors present which sought a further, more informed, fuller consultation opportunity and a request to the cabinet to continue to budget for provision of a public toilet facility in the Market Place area, whatever the outcome, was again defeated by the ‘formation hand raising team’- although this time with one conscientious objector.
One had to wonder if those voting to press on without a closer look at such matters were confusing degeneration with regeneration.
And this, folks, apparently, all adds up to the present administration’s idea of transparency, listening to the public, good business and creating a Market Place to attract traders and visitors.
But rest assured that opposition members, in spite of such Conservative tactics, will continue to try to do what they can for the benefit of all the borough.
COUN RICHARD LEGGOTT
On behalf of Opposition groups on Boston Borough Council.