It’s Monday the thirteenth which may be unlucky for some, but surely not for us as we are off to Dinnington Town Council which is usually a civilised affair.
If we were off to the Parish Hall I’d be packing my body armour and taking at least 12 sick bags, but these cares are far from our heart in the lovely Lyric.
There’s a good-ish attendance as the Cllrs roll in, Judy Dalton has paid us a visit as a member of the public as have Bodie and Doyle, aka Cllrs Jepson and Thornton. Judy hasn’t brought her fan club with her, must be their night off. We also have Save our Greenbelt and Dave Smith and Mr Lewis present, so here we go!
This is the AGM so the Chair Cllr Pauline Davies kicks off with a brief summary of the year past, she also announces she will not be standing for another term and so her reign ends. The torch and the chain passes to Cllr Ralph McIver, Pauline volunteers to move down the bench to Vice Chair so they have essentially swapped places.
We move on to the public forum with a question from Save our Greenbelt who ask the Council to request a clean-up of the Timber Yard building site.
My question is whether or not the Council will consider obtaining two RMBC assets that the Borough seem to want rid of, the Birkdale Playing Fields and RMBC Service Centre.
Dave Smith is next and starts with a stinging attack on the way the meeting is being conducted. No minutes or agenda are provided on the web site and the public and Cllrs are having to share agendas at the meeting or the public would have had nothing to look at. He welcomes the socialist spirit of sharing present in the room, however.
He continues with his actual question: What do the Council think to the closure of the Service Centre?
Cllr Jepson (the Dinno one) jumps in and says the consultation was a sham and the Borough had made their minds up before it started. Comments are made but the Borough Cllrs Falvey and Havenhand are made very conspicuous by their silence.
Only when directly asked by Mr Smith does Cllr Falvey jump to their defence and says they constantly fight for Dinnington and it could have been worse.
Cllr Russell defends the two Borough Cllrs, but this doesn’t go down very well with the public and frankly I don’t blame them. Labour Borough Cllrs in this part of the world act like Imperial Viceroys, commands are handed down from the Borough and they come back to take their seats in Dinnington and break the bad news to us. It’s something we are seeing again and again, instead of aggressively representing our cause at the Borough they are merely Labour policy apologists and it’s high time it changed.
The public session ends with Save our Greenbelt protesting that they have not been allowed to speak, ooops move on!
The state of the roads are mentioned and lamented, however Cllr Falvey jumps in here as well to defend the Borough, oh God.
Cllr Tweed has arrived by now to bring the Boroughs up to full strength so on we plough.
Next up the Parishes in the south of the Borough have joined up and requested that RMBC improve their communications to all concerned. The request was made in April and no reply has been forthcoming. An incredulous silence is only broken when Dave Smith asks for clarification as even he can’t believe what he just heard.
The Local Plan is discussed and Cllrs informed that the RMBC road show on 20 June will be accompanied by additional days at the Lyric put on by the Town Council to make sure everyone gets to hear of the plans.
Cllr Jepson asks if cabinet members from RMBC might also be invited but Cllr Falvey again jumps in and says the existing arrangements are OK. She also appeared to suggest at one stage that Council officers attending the event would be expressing Council opinion rather than just providing facts and listening to residents. When challenged by Mr Smith she said this was not what she intended to say.
This does raise an interesting question as she definitely did say something along the lines of “Cllrs and officers can give the public information to help them form their own opinion, rather than the opinions of others.”
This does seem a possible dig at the various protest groups which have been campaigning against the plans for some time now. If anyone feels I’m wrong here please feel free to comment.
Lastly the possibility of the Town Council acquiring the RMBC Service Centre, the Council is split on this, some like Cllr Wardle say that we should not have to buy what is provided free to other towns. Good point.
Cllr Tweed says it could be a good opportunity for Dinnington to acquire an excellent resource. OK, yep good point.
The now Vice Chair Cllr Davies says that RMBC should give it away to Dinnington. Bloody good point!
Cllr Wardle laments at the lack of support shown to Dinnington and once again the tiresome Cllr Falvey is there to defend the Borough. Sorry but it’s getting boring.
The public half of the meeting ends as the Cllrs descend to private session, we advise Ralph to get a few more links on his chain, Ali G is mentioned at one point but it’s all in good fun as we depart for the post meeting post mortem on the pavement.
A full helping of debate and intrigue with none of the nastiness and poison spitting that you usually find over the border Hurrah.