A lively meeting of Hedge End’s Town Council, saw discussion of Eastleigh’s draft local plan stifled once again this evening.
Cllr Jane Welsh, who was chairing the meeting, reminded the Council that the closing date for comments on the draft local plan was 3rd January 2012 and she hoped that everybody would respond.
Once the Chairman had finished her remarks, Cllr Keith Day asked why a discussion of the Council’s response to the local plan had NOT been included in the agenda. Referring to the minutes of the September meeting, which was also reported here on Eastleigh News, Cllr Day reminded his colleagues that they had agreed to return to the matter in December, i.e. at this evenings meeting.
The response was that the submission could be delegated to the Town Clerk. Councillors should email their comments directly to the Town Clerk, who would compile them and submit them to the Borough.
Clearly not happy with that answer, because it was contrary to the agreement in September, there would be no discussion of the issue and therefore nothing that could be minuted, Cllr Day persisted and handed the Town Clerk a motion which he had prepared. That was duly read to the meeting. Because the motion was quite long, it was then photocopied and distributed to the rest of the Councillors.
Cllr Day had now put his colleagues on the spot, requiring a decision on whether to debate the local plan or not.
Cllr Caitlin Bloom and Cllr Daniel Clarke both spoke to say that they much preferred to email the Town Clerk, giving their considered response.
Around the table, there was clearly a consensus that the Councillors didn’t want to discuss the issue of the local plan in any depth this evening.
Another thorny issue raised by Cllr Day, was whether the Borough Councillors should declare an interest in the local plan, and thus abstain from the discussion. This generated a firm response from Cllr Lousie Bloom, who said that it was a matter for individual Councillors to decide and that so far as she was concerned there was no conflict of interest. A position that was supported by the Town Clerk.
Cllr Caitlin Bloom then interjected to say;
Although I’m the Daughter of Louise [Cllr Lousie Bloom] , I do have my own mind…
Clearly prepared to hold a discussion if the correct procedures could be followed, Cllr Jane Welsh asked for a seconder for Cllr Day’s motion.
Cllr Baines was in favour of the principle of holding a discussion and was tempted to second the motion, but said that she had reservations about the specific motion that was in front of her. Ultimately she decided against seconding it.
Nobody else could be found to act as a seconder, so Cllr Day’s motion failed.
Cllr Baines and Cllr Watson then attempted to ask questions after the motion had failed, but they were refused permission to do so by the chair.
Said Cllr Welsh;
“We haven’t got a seconder, so I can’t take questions”
The meeting then moved on to other business.
At the end of the meeting the Town Clerk announced that he had received the resignation of Cllr David Humby. In accordance with electoral procedure, he had posted a notice advising residents that they could now write to the Returning Officer requesting an election to fill the vacancy. If 10 or more responses were received by the Returning Officer, by 13th January 2012, an election would be held. Otherwise the Town Council would strive to co-opt somebody.
Photo: Matthew Myatt