20 Sep 2008

Full Council meeting round-up of issues discussed

Thursday was a Full Council meeting that started off with party meetings at 6pm...but I'll apologise in advance these notes will be a bit shabby as it is a little late now!!

Photos: Council Chamber and below the RSS document with Stroud Greens listed as one of those participating in the consultation

We moved to the Council Chamber at 7pm and started by singing the praises of an extraordinary man - Clive Hammond, the District Council's Treasurer - he was retiring after 34 years with the Council and amongst staff and all political parties he has reputation for being fair and as described by various councillors on Thursday as a 'gentleman'. He will be sorely missed - not least because he could make a training session for councillors on budgets and finances sound interesting and make us laugh!

Councils caves in on Fromehall Park - Anyhow the evening kicked off with public question time - there were several questions re Fromehall Park - Householders living near the Stroud Rugby Club base at Fromehall Park were left to fight the scheme on their own at the public inquiry when Stroud District Council agreed at the 11th hour that applicants' Sportoptima could overcome the council's objections. Protesters are rightly angry at the way the situation was handled - local councillors were not even aware of the pull-out - see Green comments here.

Climate Change Panel Report - After that came feedback from the Climate Change Panel Report - this was only noted as the Council has to consider what elements it would like to accept - one councillor suggested Tories would be reluctant to put turbines up across the AONB while others claimed the panel was biased towards renewables with no one pro-nuclear on it!! I get exasperated with all that - the evidence against nuclear is so overwheming - even the GOvernments own advisors the Sustainable Development Commission advised against nuclear - Brown would rather listen to his brother in the nuclear industry than his own advisors?

Infact a report released in August from independent energy experts, Poyry, commissioned by Greenpeace UK and WWF UK, shows how that if the UK meets its existing renewable energy and efficiency targets, there would be no “energy gap.” See report here. This blows a massive hole in E.ON’s arguments for new coal-fired stations here as their main claim is that it Kingsnorth is a necessity to keep the lights on - and no new nukes. See also report in the Financial Times here.

Response to the outrageous Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) - The Government of the South West have so far ignored key evidence from bodies like Stroud District Council and Friends of the Earth who assert that airport growth is not compatible with tackling climate change. The latest draft of the RSS infact weakens stuff on climate change that had been accepted so far - already it was weak now it is criminal - many will remember from this blog that we have poured through huge thick documents to make submissions - well I am disgusted by the latest report - at Council several other councillors incl Green Cllr Fi MacMillan expressed deep disappointment even anger at the report - anyhow all credit to the comments being made by Stroud District Council so far..

...apart from going for airport growth here are two other examples of the nonsense:
- remember Hunts Grove and all the consultation and re-consultation and public inquiry to agree that was a suitable site - well this report says build at Whaddon - no consultation, no evidence and a far less well served site - is it any wonder people loose faith in politics???
- the RSS fails to address climate change and now weakens policies like those on Sustainable Construction which the SW had originally been praised as exemplary

Waste disaster narrowly avoided
- this was a surprise to many of us - Veolia who collect our recycling informed the Council they will vacate their Eastington depot though they have an extended tenancy saying the Council must find an appropriate site!!! Is this the misuse of power by a large corporation? Or has the Council made mistakes? To cut a long story short the Council have now gone to Smiths who will sort the stuff at Moreton Valence with effect immediately! There is much to still discover about all this - why did it happen like this? Why were contracts not tighter? Some of the papers were available only to councillors and not for public consumption but the webcast remained on as councillors did not refer to the details in those papers specifically when asking questions.

Other Council stuff - there was also procurement planning for housing repairs, a statement of accounts, a civil contingencies update, an asset management plan, Thrupp Parish changing its name to Brimscombe and Thrupp plus lots of other bits that saw us there until after 10.00pm.

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