Thursday, 10 February 2011

Garston waste site - another blow tonight.

I am just out of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee and I am afraid the news is not good.

Tonight we were discussing the "call in" of the Labour Cabinet member's plans to designate Stalbridge as the official "sub regional " waste site for Liverpool.

The Cabinet had met last Friday and agreed the proposal, but four Lib Dem colleagues and I called it in.  (And to be absolutely fair to  him the Cabinet member also said it should be discussed further at the committee).

There was quite an intense debate with some good questions .

However that proved to be of absolutely no importance when it came to voting.

Select committees have the power to either approve or disagree with a Cabinet decision.  If they vote to disagree, the Cabinet has to think again (it can of course then come to the same conclusion but often the scutiny means changes are made).  If they approve the decision, it still goes back to Cabinet but the likelihood of getting a change is much, much less.

Well tonight, despite some questions and remarks from Labour Councillors giving the impression that they had problems with the suggestion, they went and voted it through.

We lost by three votes to four on both votes.

Bizarrely one of the Speke Garston councillors is a member of the committee but he decided to come off it for that evening to act as a ward Councillor (I had understood this is allowed.  Someone is now querying this although given that someone from the Council's legal department was there I'd be amazed if this was something not possible to do)

The said Councillor then said nothing.  If he had stayed on the committee he could at least have voted.  There is no value in giving up your vote unless you then speak forcefully and passionately to persuade others. Unless of course you don't want to be seen voting in a particular way.

Peter, Richard and I are pretty hacked off right now with it - particularly with the Labour amendment which tried to blame the whole thing on the Government Actually we had a glimmer of hope going in because a group of Labour Councillors, including the chief whip, had written that they thought the whole decision should be delayed for more in depth scutiny.  Clearly that was just a ruse to get something on paper but we would have agreed to co operate with a proper scutiny focus over time if that was what was on offer (and if outright rejection had failed - which it had)

Still we are now where we are and we need to regroup and think about what else we can do to protect this part of Garston.

To those to whom I am giving bad news, I apologise for being the bearer.  But there is no point delaying it.

The committee papers (minutes) won't be published yet but when they are you should be able to find them

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