Council committee meeting: a bit of a shambles

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s new Community Services committee met for the first time yesterday evening.

Off-street parking was on the agenda.  The council recently consulted the public on a number of changes to parking arrangements, including increasing the parking Penalty Charge from £50 to £70 (a decision the council made in 2015 but had not yet carried out).  No-one had objected, but a last-minute amendment was put on the table at the meeting by the Conservatives to make the new charge £60.  It appears they have taken two years to change their minds about a decision they didn’t carry out when it was made and that no-one has objected to anyway.

The council’s appointees to various local organisations had been asked to submit written reports to the meeting, as happens every year.  A lot of these reports are blank, and I’ve been getting more and more outspoken asking what these Conservative appointees are doing if they cannot even be bothered to submit a report once a year.  The message seems to be getting through, and there was a flurry of last-minute reports on the table yesterday.

  • None of the four councillors on the Community Safety Partnership (including the chair of yesterday’s committee meeting) had submitted a report on what the partnership had done in the last year – or even whether they had attended.
  • The report of the district council’s representative on the county council’s Health Committee said only: ‘This Body fits in with ECDC’s Corporate Plan, as it looks [sic] the areas of need for all residents’. I’m not sure that tells us a lot about what’s happening in the important area of public health.
  • The council’s representative on the East Cambs & Fenland Children’s Trust said in his report that he wasn’t sure it was worth the council being represented on this body. If that’s the case, why did the council nominate him?  Does the council think this organisation is worthwhile?
  • The council’s representative to the Paradise Centre management committee said she couldn’t keep them informed of what was happening because she wasn’t on the right council committees.  That doesn’t sound like effective relationship building.
  • And finally, it was reported that the council has decided to withdraw from the City of Ely Perspective group, just at the point where it seems to be reviving and submitting important views on developments in Ely such as the proposals for the building on the Market Square.

It all seemed a bit of a shambles.

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