SBC: T.I.C. Tactics
- an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on an incipient crack in the Tory SBC stranglehold.
Readers of the Whitby Gazette and the Scarborough News may have struggled recently to discern any useful information regarding opposition to Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet’s declared intent to close the Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in the Borough.
It is relatively straightforward.
On Tuesday 8th March 2016, the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee met under the Chairship of Councillor David JEFFELS (both a Borough and County Councillor – in fact, the Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, no less) to consider a call-in of Cabinet’s decision to close the TICs, led by Councillor Alf ABBOTT [Con.], and supported by Councillor Janet JEFFERSON [Ind.], Councillor Phil TRUMPER [Con.], Councillor Guy COULSON [Con.] and the notorious Councillor John NOCK [Con.].
Five signatories – four Tories.
Yes. Four Tories, opposing the Tory Cabinet.
The reason for the call-in was recorded thus:
We fully understand the need for cost savings, but
Other options should have been considered that could be equally cost effective, but would offer a better local, face to face service eg Harrogate, Hambleton, etc
There was inadequate consultation with members and local communities before the officers[sic]report and recommendations were submitted to Cabinet for decision.
The decision was based on incomplete information and estimated statistics. The costings did not include all the financial facts that should have been considered
No risk assessment was carried out on the possible adverse effects on local attractions and businesses and local tourism economies.
The Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee voted unanimously in favour of the call-in:
RESOLVED that the committee recommends that the Cabinet:
(i) Reconsiders its decision in relation to the Tourist Information Centres in the Borough by marketing the Whitby and Scarborough TIC sites on the basis that part of the current Whitby site should be reserved for use by a manned TIC/Customer First facility, and a manned TIC should be retained in Scarborough;
(ii) Carries out more widespread consultation throughout the Borough including villages in the North York Moors National Park;
(iii) Carries out a reassessment of the statistics used in the report to enable a rigorous cost/benefit analysis of the options proposed; and
(iv) Explores a wider range of creative options which should include encouraging local groups to develop a Community Right to Bid under the Localism Act 2011, with the necessary six month moratorium period to allow such bids to come forward.
Our magnificent Leader, Councillor Derek BASTIMAN [Con.] – caught out earlier in the week by NYE Guest Author Allan ROBERTS (who disclosed Delboy’s appalling attendance record at the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority) – will not be a happy bunny.
Not, at least, judging by the certainty of conviction he evinced in a recent letter to Whitby Town (Parish) Council:
Spare a moment to savour that last line again:
- “…but I cannot allow such dialogue to delay the implementation of the Cabinet resolution of 16 February.”
Is that so, Delboy?
Well, probably yes.
Councillor BASTIMAN – who has modelled his style of Leadership on that of his waning-star predecessor and present Mayor, Councillor Tom FOX – may well pull out all the stops to ensure that his Cabinet over-rules the call-in Resolution and ratifies his short-sighted and, in my view, ill-advised pursuit of his own way. By close-of-play next Tuesday 15th March, the TICs could be history.
A number of my little bluebirds are singing a song of discontent with the present Leadership.
Nevertheless, Councillor Derek BASTIMAN is what is technically known as a ‘Strong Leader’ – that is to say that he will remain Leader for his full 4-year term, concluding at the May 2019 elections. Whereupon, he may well fully intend to go on for a further four years. (Go on. Admit it. That little light at the end of the long, dark tunnel flickered for a moment then, did it not?).
But no. Not even a vote of ‘No confidence’ can dislodge him. In fact, only three eventualities can:
- The death of the Leader (of which there would appear to be no predictable prospect)
- The resignation of the Leader (of which there would appear to be no predictable prospect)
- The disqualification of the Leader in his capacity as a Councillor (i.e. conviction of a criminal offence and in receipt of a sentence of more than six months imprisonment (of which there would appear to be no predictable prospect)
Still, you never know . . .
And that says little about the rising tide of in-party discontent. A couple of resignations; a couple (maybe three) floor-walkers; a dyspeptic old dipsomaniac keels over . . . a week is a very short time in politics. And they say all political careers end in tears . . .
By the way, have you asked your Councillor yet where he or she stands on Brexit?