Last night we had the Places Scrutiny Committee attended by, at its peak,
four members of the public and about 21 councillors. With committees of this
size Teresa O’Neill will never be able to
reduce the number of councillors to 42
as she keeps promising voters at election time.
The new committee is close to being the old Environment and Leisure combined with Public Realm and the chair has passed from a woman for whom lying is a way of life to a man who can happily stand in a court witness box making up a story he knows, and the documented evidence showed, is just a figment of his imagination.
The chairmanship fell a little short of the standards set by James Hunt (People) and Steven Hall (Resources) but at least there was no sign of the aggression that characterised Public Realm meetings in the past. It was unfortunate that from the public area everyone was clearly audible except for chairman Melvin Seymour. He usually remembered to switch his microphone on but made no consistent effort to speak into it and there may have been technical problems too. A pity because in other respects the meeting ran well enough with some interesting facts coming from senior council officers.
However those facts - assuming they are, I have difficulty reconciling Toni Ainge’s 400,000 visitors a year to Lesnes Abbey with what I see by living opposite the main gate - are going to have to wait until tomorrow because there will not be time to produce a full report today. I have a dental appointment, there’s another council meeting this evening, and I really must gather some fruit from the garden before the parakeets nick it all.