Council delegates ‘political’ Rec motion

Rec protesters at the bandstand

Local residents fighting to save Eastleigh’s Leigh road recreation ground from developers have had their hopes dashed  after Council Leader Keith House dismissed a motion opposed to further encroachment as “Political Posturing” and Mayor Rupert Kyrle used standing orders to devolve a debate down to the Local Area Committee.

Councillor Judith Grajewski – of  Eastleigh’s  four member Conservative opposition group –  had tabled a motion for last night’s meeting of the Full Council meeting calling on members  to preserve the ground as a recreational space.

Residents had protested about plans  by Sainsbury’s to extend their current supermarket over 5,000 square feet of the rec in return for cash to redesign the Northern end of the Town Centre.

But although the plan fell through after Sainsbury’s decide to pull the plug on its portfolio of development plans which were linked to costly town regeneration schemes.

Objectors to Sainsbury’s proposals remained concerned that the Rec could still  be under threat as it had been  identified in two recent retail studies commissioned by the council as being the only open space in Central Eastleigh.

Objectors to Sainsbury’s plans were also worried by the favourable reception the proposals had received from Eastleigh Local Area Councillors who had described the loss of recreational space as an ‘improvement’ in their ‘Focus’ newsletter and refused to discuss the plans with them.

After campaigner Stuart Jebbitt lobbied Councillors by email he was surprised to receive a response from Leader Keith House describing the Cllr Grajewski motion as “Political posturing”

Cllr House also claimed:

“There is not and has not been a plan to develop the rec or give it away to commercial interests. We all value the Recreation Ground”.

Eastleigh Rec 1933

Eastleigh’s shrinking rec. Red area shows development since 1933

Cllr House also said that the motion was on a local matter and would be referred to the Local Area Committee – and therefore would not be debated or voted on at Full Council.

This is exactly what happened at the council meeting last night.

Having proposed and seconded the motion Cllr Grajewski and Opposition Leader Cllr Olson attempted to speak in support of it but  were cut short by the Chairman who insisted it was an issue solely for the  Eastleigh Local Area Committee and no debate could be entertained under standing orders.

Cllr House reminding the Conservatives:

‘You have no electoral mandate in the town centre”

Cllr Olson remarked that the motion had been received in a ‘hostile ‘ manner and suggested  the Lib Dems had delegated it to ELAC because they were anxious to avoid a debate, something Cllr House refuted insisting:

“We do want to see our public open spaces kept,maintained and improved “

Afterwards Cllr Grajewski said:

“I am disappointed about this evening’s outcome but not surprised. The Leigh Road Rec is used by many people from across  the borough, not just those who have an address in the ELAC geographical area.

“For me, this isn’t about politics – it’s about getting some reassurance for concerned residents. One would have thought that all members could at least agree on the importance of that”

Cllr Grajewski’s motion:

“This Council resolves to retain all of the remaining land (as at 18th  October 2012) known as the Leigh Road Recreation Ground for the  amenity and recreational use of the residents of Eastleigh and visitors to  the Borough. This Council will resist all moves to develop any of the land  for residential, commercial or other purposes  deemed not to be  recreational and in keeping with the present character of the facility”

The motion will be forwarded to the next meeting of Eastleigh Local Area Committee.

  10 comments for “Council delegates ‘political’ Rec motion

  1. Stuart Jebbitt
    October 19, 2012 at 8:48 am

    The lib dems deal in doublespeak – They are now being found out nationally and locally for what they are. Why can’t they have an opinion? Too scared to have one? Just in case that might have to defend it. They have no principles – they are not a political party as much as an elaborate PR exercise.

  2. Stephen Slominski
    October 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Doublespeak indeed Stuart. ‘Improved’ as regards the rec means reduced in size with fewer trees.’Protected’means built on because once that happens then it is ‘protected’ from anyone else building on it.

    I had hoped Eastleigh’s Councillors would be falling over themselves to declare their support this vital piece of the Town’s heritage but they view a motion to protect our green space and heritage as ‘political posturing’ to be opposed on partisan lines.

    Unfortunately we don’t have consensus politics, we have a 19th Century adversarial system which does not serve residents needs.

    Here is an example of how damaging party politics are in local government and why we need to get our recreational spaces out of the hands of politicians – of any party – and into a charitable trust.

    As it is, we are being told ‘It’s down to ELAC’.
    Are they really saying they don’t care what happens to the rec? If ELAC decides to build a supermarket on it, or a car park or abuse it as venue to hold thinly disguised rallies of support for our beleaguered MP – then its ok by them?

    I would agree with Mr House that it’s not an ideal situation when Newtown residents – many of whom will have voted Lib Dem – have to rely on the support of Conservative Councillors from Chandler’s Ford to stick up for their open spaces because ELAC members who were voted in on a promise of ‘Speaking up’ for the town won’t say a word at the council meeting and wont meet with residents to discuss the matter – one of them doesn’t even have an email address.

    I’m afraid, for me, last nights farce just underlined the danger facing our lovely rec.

    • Judith Grajewski
      October 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Re. “…Newtown residents — many of whom will have voted Lib Dem — have to rely on the support of Conservative Councillors from Chandler’s Ford….”
      If borough residents from outside the ward I represent wish to contact me for assistance with any matter, they are more than welcome to do so and many do. I know that my Conservative colleagues feel the same way. We take the view that we were elected as BOROUGH councillors.

      • October 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        You know what, I feel that a fresh wind is starting to blow, lets hope it turns into a hurricane.

  3. Andy
    October 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    This incident just demonstrates once again the dangers of the majority currently enjoyed by the Lib Dems in Eastleigh. I really hope this incident, along with Mr House’s trademark arrogant response will be a wake up call to the residents of Eastleigh town. The Lib Dems are taking you for fools, riding roughshod over the desires of the residents who voted them in to their comfortable position.

    Let’s be real – Labour have no voice in Eastleigh, the Conservative group are being deliberately sidelined by House, but at least they are standing up for the people of the Borough, regardless of ward! The Conservatives are the only party in Eastleigh who can provide an effective voice against the arrogant, ignorant politicking of House and his politburo.

    • October 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Well said sir.
      I told you, I can feel that a storm brewing. 😉

  4. October 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Wow. Ever thought of standing in the elections, you have my vote sir.

    Doublespeak indeed Stuart. ‘Improved’ as regards the rec means reduced in size with fewer trees.’Protected’means built on because once that happens then it is ‘protected’ from anyone else building on it.

    I had hoped Eastleigh’s Councillors wouldbe falling over themselves to declare their support this vital piece of the Town’s heritage but they view a motion to protect our green space and heritage as ‘political posturing’ to be opposed on partisan lines.

    Unfortunately we don’t have consensus politics, we have a 19th Century adversarial system which does not serve residents needs.

    Here is an example of how damaging party politics are in local government and why we need to get our recreational spaces out of the hands of politicians — of any party — and into a charitable trust.

    As it is, we are being told ‘It’s down to ELAC’.
    Are they really saying they don’t care what happens to the rec? If ELAC decides to build a supermarket on it, or a car park or abuse it as venue to hold thinly disguised rallies of support for our beleaguered MP — then its ok by them?

    I would agree with Mr House that it’s not an ideal situation when Newtown residents — many of whom will have voted Lib Dem — have to rely on the support of Conservative Councillors from Chandler’s Ford to stick up for their open spaces because ELAC members who were voted in on a promise of ‘Speaking up’ for the town won’t say a word at the council meeting and wont meet with residents to discuss the matter — one of them doesn’t even have an email address.

    I’m afraid, for me, last nights farce just underlined the danger facing our lovely rec.

  5. K Preston
    October 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Yeah – you would definitely get my vote Steve!

  6. October 24, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Five members of the public attended that meeting.
    Please attend the ELAC meeting
    Eastleigh needs your help.
    Sam Snook
    UKIP

  7. Dave Steward
    October 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    As 1 of the 5 members of the public who attended that meeting, I’d like to say Eastleigh Borough Councillors, sorry should have said lib-dem “hitlers” have a proven track record of not caring about our heritage, REMEMBER our memoerial tree they cut down a few years ago just to extend The Point which they granted planning permission for. Well enough said, I could have go on forever but I’ll keep it short and vote for anyone EXCEPT LIB-DEM.

Comments are closed.