A LYME Regis councillor has argued that the amount of council business being discussed in private is “not good enough”.
Councillor Derek Hallett made the argument at last night’s Strategy & Finance meeting, when five items were expected to be discussed in private.
In particular, he argued that a discussion on whether the council should move its offices to the former Three Cups Hotel after it is redeveloped should be held in public.
Councillor Hallett said: “There’s nothing hidden, no management, no jobs, no tender. Why can’t we do this in the public domain?
“We have brought this up in the public domain before and the townspeople should know.
“I’m getting fed up with all this being done behind the door. People don’t like it and I’m afraid I don’t like it. It’s just not good enough.”
Committee chairman Councillor Stephen Miller said the item would include discussions on the auspices of another company – Palmers Brewery, which owns the Three Cups – and he had therefore been advised to consider the matter in private.
Councillor Brian Larcombe argued in favour of discussing the matter in public, saying there was “nothing to jeopardise or embarrass another organisation”.
However, Councillor John Broom expressed concern about discussing the possibility of moving offices to the Three Cups before talking to Palmers about it.
Redevelopment still a ‘long way down the river’
Following a vote, it was agreed to take the matter in public, but councillors agreed there was actually not much to discuss until the redevelopment of the Three Cups was underway.
The former hotel has stood empty in Broad Street for about 30 years but is expected to undergo a £5million redevelopment, to include shops, apartments and a restaurant and letting rooms in the former car park behind.
Councillor Richard Doney said there was “little point spending time and energy” on a possible office move until there was more evidence of Palmers starting the re-development.
Councillor Jeff Scowen said there had been a lot of work going on at the site recently, but other members said this was just stabilisation and general maintenance work and not related to the redevelopment.
Councillor Miller commented: “It’s unfortunately still a long way down the river.”
He suggested that officers keep members informed of any developments.