To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Honorary Alderman David Nation referring to the sale of the Crediton Office made the following statement - You won’t be surprised to learn that my question concerns your atrocious decision or should I say the atrocious decision of three Members of the Cabinet to sell the council building in Market Street, Crediton to a commercial bidder, rather than abide by the democratic decision, and I am pleased to hear that in your prayers this evening, that you are still a democracy and yet the clear democratic will of your entire Council was to offer the building for sale to Crediton Town Council at half the valuation. That would have been totally fair and in keeping with the precedent set with regard to the Tiverton Town Hall.
So my question really, and it is especially significant I think, since I have heard today and many of your Members probably aren’t aware of this, that the intention to sell that building commercially, that no discussion or information has been imparted by any Council official to the two major tenants in that building. Those are Citizens Advice and Community Transport. Now it takes a lot to surprise me but I am absolutely flabbergasted that this has been going on for 12 months, and whilst a lot of people thought that you would not be as silly as to carry it out, those tenants have had no meetings, no information at all from the Council. That I find absolutely appalling.
But my question in particular, is to those three Cabinet Members who voted to sell this building commercially, are you aware of the strength of feeling in Crediton about this decision. Now you all know that this is a large sparsely populated district and it is difficult to achieve community cohesion right across the area. I think Cabinet Members and any other Members inclined to vote for this proposal and to carry it through ought to be aware of the strength of feeling in Crediton and the disgust towards this Council, will do your standing and the atmosphere throughout the district no good at all.
I have been involved in a good many petitions over several decades in Crediton and I have never known the anger which is felt on the street about this proposal. It is intense, people are fuming. These petitions which you will hear about later are in nearly all the shops in Crediton, people are falling over themselves to sign the petition to show their disgust and I very much hope that those of you, especially Cabinet Members, if this is a delegated decision as I think it must be, are inclined to go through with this deal, bear that in mind you will do the morale in Mid Devon District nothing but harm if you continue with this proposal.
The Chief Executive responded by highlighting the fact that the vote at full council was not a decision. Alderman Nation had accurately pointed out the governance terms; it is the Cabinet that makes the decision, and the wording of the vote at full council was only one of urging Cabinet. In terms of the outcomes, procedurally it carries no weight, it is important to set that in context.
Mr Quinn referring to Item 4 (Minute of the previous meeting) stated that there is an error in the minutes of the meeting of Full Council on 27 June 2018 - specifically in the questions to Cabinet Members item
Councillor Dolley asked “if a progress report of the 3 Rivers Development Company would be presented to Council?”
The minutes state that the response from the Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Stanley was: “The Cabinet Member stated that annual accounts and the business plan for the Development Company had been reported to both the Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee.”
However the audio recording of the Council meeting has Councillor Stanley clearly stating (and I quote): “3 Rivers is a company that is outside this Council. The Councils owns 100% of its share, as you know, and it is reported once a year in the accounts and that is as far as we go. It is exactly the same as Devonshire Homes - they don’t report to the Council, or the public, and the same applies to 3 Rivers”. (End of quote)
Councillor Stanley made a clear and accurate statement, but the minutes do not remotely reflect what he said.
It is important that the minutes should be correct. So my question, through the Chairman is:
Will the minutes be corrected so as to show the actual words used by Councillor Stanley in his reply?
Cllr Mrs J Roach stated that she intended to move an amendment to the minutes.