Gone in 60 seconds…

Eastleigh Council’s cabinet may have set a national record tonight for the fastest ever council meeting after the cabinet opened and closed its session within a minute with no debate.

The meeting which opened at 6.30pm was declared closed at 6.31 after the cabinet voted to pass on the decision on a £36 million Rose Bowl land and hotel deal to the meeting of the full council scheduled for 7pm.

One member of the public who had wanted to address the cabinet on the plans for the cricket ground was considerably upset to discover the meeting had already finished by the time he arrived at 6.32 and consequently used part of his allotted five minutes addressing the full council meeting to remonstrate with it over the lack of time set aside for public participation.

Leader of the Conservative group Godfrey Olson started his own speech to full council by saying:

“It took one minute for cabinet to resolve that they should purchase the Rose Bowl.”

This immediately brought chair of the cabinet Keith House to his feet:

“No, the cabinet did not do that. The cabinet passed the entire matter for the council to debate.”

Suitably chastened the veteran Tory Councillor paused then continued:

“The cabinet resolved to recommend in one minute, that we should purchase the rose bowl”.

Councillors voted in favour of purchasing the Rose Bowl cricket ground and financing the construction of a Hotel on the site by 30 votes to 5.

Report to follow.

  16 comments for “Gone in 60 seconds…

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 16, 2011 at 1:22 am

    With no debate and no public participation on the biggest deal the Council has ever undertaken one has to ask what is the purpose of cabinet?
    Cabinet members receive an extra £7,588 pa for their extra responsibilities.
    Is this a layer of local government we can do without?

    • Keith House
      December 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      There was indeed public participation at the full Council meeting and two speakers spoke for a longer period of time than councillors are allowed to speak. The member of the public – and UKIP candidate I seem to recall – did attend all of the Cabinet meeting but was too busy talking to the person sitting next to him to listen to what happened at the Cabinet meeting which was not to decide anything at all other than that the debate on all the issues should be had at the full Council meeting (where he did speak, fully).

  2. December 16, 2011 at 8:23 am

    The full council vote was 30-5 as nine Lib Dems didn’t turn up.

  3. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    sorry, yes you are right thanks – I’ll correct that, I had the figure ’39’ stuck in my head.

  4. December 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This is amazing on the face of it, but I guess the Cabinet were never going to reject the idea and stop the full Council debating the matter.

    Even if a decent public debate had been allowed at the Cabinet meeting, it would have not made any difference to the Cabinet’s decision.

    Isn’t democracy wonderful…

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      December 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Yes you’re right. The cabinet was never going to reject the idea and decided a cabinet debate with public participation could be dispensed with.
      So why not go the whole hog and dispense with Cabinet?

      • December 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

        What a good idea…!

  5. John C Martin
    December 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    As the member of public who wanted to speak,I don’t understand why the original Cabinet meeting was organised in the first place with a very limited 2 item agenda.Incidentally,I was not late for the meeting. I was sat in the public area well before the start. Democracy at it’s worst I would suggest.

  6. Keith House
    December 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    John – see my comment above. I explained at the meeting but I regret you were not paying attention. Constitutionally part of the business was for Cabinet to take a final decision on but to allow a wider debate I moved that the full set of issues be considered by Council – and you spoke at that meeting.

  7. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    OK, so if we don’t need the cabinet to debate major policy decisions then why do we need the
    cabinet?

  8. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    The chairman at full council was feeling generous, he said and allowed speakers from the public gallery a full five minutes each.

    This probably would be more than enough to outline one’s objections to the neighbour’s loft extension but not very much time to respond to 50 odd pages of reports into £36 million deal although, credit to Mr Janmohamed, he did give it try.

    Archaic standing orders which limit Public Participation hark back to an era when Councils did not own pubs and Hotels or have a multi-million pound debt mountain.

  9. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Although there weren’t that many members of the Public present.

    I saw plenty of Media types, prospective candidates,past members and vested interests.

    Nearly 60 residents turned up at Bifohh to object to a chip shop though. 🙄

  10. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    December 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    BTW posters who register with the site by clicking on the tab in top right corner can now create a profile and upload their own avatar, or elect to use their Twitter avatar, to accompany their comments rather than display the default ‘monster’ icons.

    • Keith House
      December 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      All politics is local! I imagine the chip shop was more controversial than the Rose Bowl, where the vast majority of feedback I’ve had suggests residents are in agreement with the Council: save and create jobs, protect services, help the economy and keep Council Tax down. Happy Christmas!

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        December 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

        Despite there being 60 local objectors – they couldn’t stop the chippy.
        If it’s 60 people objecting to a chippy or three people objecting to a hotel its still only five minutes.
        Localism sucks.

        Funny that all the people I speak to want to save and create jobs, protect services, help the economy and keep Council Tax down too.

        It’s debt that is destroying jobs and the economy and you are also putting your ‘legacy’ and reputation on the line with this £130 million debt mountain so good luck with that.

        BTW have you sorted out the naming rights yet? Is it Bernard Matthews? I can see the signs now…”Welcome to the West End Turkey…” 😆

  11. Brian Norgate
    December 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Perhaps it would be a happy Christmas for everyone if Chris Huhne and Keith House Lib dems paid Anne Winstanley her £10k+ loans back and perhaps some interest he has used to get Lib dem councillors and Mp elected.

    perhaps they have paid back the loans declared at the Electoral Commision and Anne will get her money for Christmas this year

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