Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Penzance Town Council Meeting

In truth Full Town Council meetings can be pretty dry affairs, just ticking off resolutions passed in the committees, where most of the work is done, but last night we had a Full Town Council that had it all, tied votes, some of the finest pre election manoeuvring, tears & laughter.

So what could have brought about all this, on the face of it very little, yes the main item did concern the link to the Isles of Scilly, but not anything too controversial, some background.

 After the collapse of Cornwall Council’s funding bid, Andrew George and Penzance Town Council along with other groups got together to rework a new bid, Cornwall Council where invited to join but declined, this bid will be lead by the Town Council, to this end a committee was set up, of which I was a member, and within this a working group.
Meetings have been held, work done and on the 1st September a meeting was held, attended by the Mayor and Deputy, reps of Penzance Seafront Forum, The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company with DfT and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Meetings have also been held with the Isles of Scilly council and chief executive.http://www.scillytoday.com/2011/09/20/council-building-bridges-with-penzance-over-route-plans/
We now move to the next stage of the bid process which is the formation of the Penzance Harbour Scheme Management Board, this is what was under discussion last night, it should be noted that there is broad agreement within Penzance Town Council for this to go ahead, but who was going to be on the board, that was the question?

The proposed make-up of the Board was the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairman of the Finance/Property Committee, Chairman of the Planning Committee and one other councillor, three members of the Penzance Seafront Forum, a representative from the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, one rep from Cornwall Council(if they wish, officer or councillor), a representative from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

So five members from Penzance Town Council (as lead body), three from Penzance Seafront Forum (a wide based community group), Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, one rep from Cornwall Council and a representative from the Department for Communities and Local Government (funding body).

Now we come to the problem, one other councillor, straight to her feet is one of our two dual hated councillors (Penzance Town and Cornwall Council councillors). Proposing that she should be the one, not sure of the reason given, it was a bit random and I was losing interest, and that the Deputy Mayor should be replaced by her colleague (the other twin hatter), who had graced us with her presence for the first time for some while, that woke me up, I should have known something was up, a two pronged attack, but why the sudden interest ?

Then it hit me, this should nicely be coming to an end in an election year, now call me a cynic if you want, but I’ve been doing this for a good few years and I can spot a bit of pre election manoeuvring a long way off. Our two County Councillors are going to save the harbour.

Well this kicked off a right old debate, during which I managed to keep my own council, should the Chairman of Planning be a member as he’s also the chair of the Civic Society, (probably a third of councillors are involved with other groups, certainly the active one’s), and so on.

How did it end? Well councillor one, got part of her way and got the seat, the Deputy Mayor retained his seat, her comrade in arms talked her way onto the group also, but non voting, sure that won’t be mentioned in the election blurb.

I admire their cheek, but I am still not sure, whatever their motives that having two councillors from County on the board is such a good thing.

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