evening’s General Purposes Committee meeting went pretty much to the
pre-ordained plan. Deputy Director Toni Ainge began her well rehearsed spiel
about why it might be a good idea to dispose of - they try to avoid use of the
word sell - four parks and open spaces at 19:55 and spent five minutes doing so.
At 20:02 Councillor Nigel Betts (Conservative, Falconwood & Welling) moved that the sale be put to a vote. There was a 1,282 page Agenda before the Committee and no one had had a chance to ask even a single question, but according to Councillor Betts the sale should be voted through there and then “for the good of the Council”. Nothing else matters apparently, as undemocratic voting fodder Councillor Betts has few rivals, the good of the Council is the only thing that matters to the likes of him.
However, Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) managed to put a spanner in the works by asking a large number of probing questions and one way or another the meeting was spun out for a further two hours.
Not that it made a scrap of difference, all six Conservative members voted to send the measure back to Cabinet for their final approval. The three Labour and UKIP members voted against.
As the Cabinet sent the proposals to General Purposes in the first place I think it can be safely said that retention of the first tranche of four parks is now beyond all hope - unless someone is planning on taking the issue to Judicial Review.