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Folkestone and Hythe District Council slammed for excluding councillors from Otterpool purchase decision

Contributed by editor on Jun 14, 2018 - 03:30 PM


A former Shepway District Councillor has warned of 'smoke-filled room' politics that people rightly distrust after a decision to buy 'Otterpool' land without discussion by councillors.

In an article in the Shepway Liberal Democrat blog, it claims Folkestone and Hythe District Council have published details of an "Urgent Decision" to purchase various pieces of land in the Otterpool Park area without discussion by Councillors.

Former Shepway District Councillor, and former Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Tim Prater has asked why this decision is being taken as an "Urgent Decision" rather than being discussed and decided by Councillors.

Tim says: "This is an important decision - we're talking about our cash-strapped District Council paying out loads more money they don't really have on land. The purchases are big. The notice itself makes it clear we're not talking small money but at least £300,000 and potentially much, much more.

"I personally have huge reservations about the whole Otterpool Park project, but it is up to the Council to decide to proceed. But that's the point: the council should decide, not force through a decision to spend fortunes on various blocks of land on the say so of the Leader, and Cabinet Member and the Head of Paid Service.

"There is nothing in the notice to justify why allowing a couple of weeks for councillors to consider this would jeopardise any part of the project. There is a full Council meeting timetabled already in July, and an extraordinary meeting could be called as well if needed.

"Making this an Urgent Decision rather than allowing councillors to discuss and agree it in advance is the type of 'smoke-filled room' politics that people rightly distrust. If Folkestone and Hythe District Council don't trust their own councillors to consider the purchases and make the right decision then they shouldn't be buying the land at all."

Read the full article here

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