An audio clip, obtained from the official Sutton Council recording of last week’s controversial planning meeting for the £1 billion incinerator scheme at Beddington Lane, shows that a council official intervened with the meeting chairman to try to force a decision on the night, rather than defer the matter as was determined by the elected councillors.
Listen in all its glory as John Leach, the LibDem councillor chairing the meeting, decides to defer the decision, having added his own vote to tie-up proceedings at 3-3 before opting out of exercising a casting vote (nice of him to give himself two votes, don’t you think?).
After the applause from the public gallery at the failure of the incinerator scheme to gain approval, the microphone picks up another voice, that of an unidentified Sutton council official, whispering some weasel words to Leach. The discussion isn’t entirely distinct, but there’s enough to hear to get a clear idea of what went on.
Clearly, the meeting had not gone as they had expected.
“We need a decision one way or another,” the officer says, somewhat anxiously.
“What do you mean we need a decision one way or another? On what?” says Leach.
“You have the casting vote,” the official offers.
“I’m not prepared to use the casting vote, I told you that,” Leach replies, perhaps indicating that this scenario had been discussed ahead of the meeting.
“So at the moment we’re in limbo…” the official’s sounding a little worried by now.
“Yes, that’s right,” says Leach, clearly unamused by being told the beedin’ obvious.
Here’s the clip:
The audio clip begins with the voice of a Conservative councillor, Graham Whitham, who represents Cheam ward. Croydon’s Tories councillors – who broke an election promise to oppose the incinerator – might want to note that Whitham and his party colleague voted against the incinerator.
“I don’t think the public have been well served by politicians across the board,” Whitham said.
So true, and on so many levels.
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon – 267,670 page views (Nov 2012-Apr 2013)
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