The Borough meetings last night were very interesting.
First was the Extraordinary Meeting about education. The Conservative Motion was as follows:-
“This Council expresses its deep concern and censure of the authority’s Cabinet leadership with regard to Education policy, provision and achievement following the announcement of the fifth school to be placed into special measures during the course of this year alone."
Cllr Steve Burrell spoke very eloquently on the deficiencies of the local authority which lead to the downgrading of five local secondary schools. The council had set up a Multi Co-operative Trust without taking any advice from the very successful Haberdashers and Mercers Trust which runs two Telford schools very successfully, two that had previously been failing. The Conservatives accused the Council of setting up a co-operative trust in political defiance and without ensuring that it contained the experience necessary to run secondary schools. They particularly drew attention to the fact that Cllr Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Education, was a trustee and he resigned when things started to go downhill.
They were upset that the Labour members refused to extend any apology and denied their culpability – preferring rather to blame the government.
In the vote that followed all the labour members voted against the motion and so did the three Liberal Democrats and the Independant.
Full Council Meeting.
This meeting followed the Extraordinary Meeting.
Conservatives put forward the following motion:-
“This Council notes with concern the Labour Administration’s refusal to adopt the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in February 2012 which has prevented the Authority from raising money from Developers to pay for secondary school provision across the Borough over a number of years.
The adoption of the CIL will also: -
• deliver additional funding for T&W to carry out a wide range of infrastructure projects that support growth and benefit the local community.
• give the local community flexibility and freedom to set their own priorities for what the money should be spent on.
• ensure greater transparency for local people who will be able to understand how new development is contributing to their community
• enable local authorities to allocate a share of the levy raised in a neighbourhood to deliver infrastructure the neighbourhood wants.
Consequently this Council resolves to instruct that a report on adoption of the CIL is presented to Cabinet as a matter of urgency.”
This motion is self explanatory. Andrew Eade said that this council had refused the option to implement the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) nearly four years ago and missed an opportunity to ensure there was a pot of money for secondary school provision, for which there is currently nothing. Adopting the CIL would have put £millions into the council coffers.
This motion was not voted on, the Speaker recommended that it should be referred direct to Cabinet for further discussion – watch this space, we will let you know what happens.
The two meetings were notable for the much improved behaviour of the Labour Group following a warning from the Speaker.