For those who could not attend the EDDC Cabinet meeting on Wednesday this week, here is the question put by SOS supporter, Barry Curwen:
You continue to boast and pride yourselves on your transparency and openness, however, when it comes to the Office Relocation Project the complete opposite is true. Again further debate and decisions have been recommended by your officers to be discussed in a private session under Part B of this meeting. I wish to challenge this recommendation.
The Office Relocation Project is very much a public issue and concern. It is in the public interest to be kept informed on developments, for two main reasons:- Firstly, because very large sums of public money are being spent. You have awarded yourself a budget of £314,354 to spend on this project before even the principle of relocation is debated by the full council. As at the 6 March you have already declared a cost of £243,818 but as this does not include the full cost of officer’s time the real cost to the tax payer is considerably greater. Secondly, the potential impact of losing the largest single employer and two key employment sites would cause significant harm to Sidmouth’s economy.
Apart from the report presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 26 July 2012, all other discussions and decisions have taken place in private. Please record my comments this evening as a formal challenge to the legality of your actions, as on balance this is very much an issue where the majority of the debate should be in public with only the relatively few number of commercially sensitive items being dealt with in private.
When does this cabinet plan to finally be open, transparent and honest with the public with regard to the Office Relocation Project?