Sutton official tried to influence vote at incinerator meeting

Sutton-20120215-00413An 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.

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2 Responses to Sutton official tried to influence vote at incinerator meeting

  1. Interesting clip. The worst we can encounter in our lives is the arrogant incompetence of people who pretend to know it all and are prepared to fabricate rules to suit their agenda.
    Money can only buy tangible items. Health is not one.
    I urge people to read the Recommendation to grant planning permission and the reason for report to Committee as set out by Sutton planners. It is highly objectionable
    Political parties use the incinerator to further their agendas too. So much so that the majority repeats hollow concepts and is unable to sustain an informed debate. #shame
    I have always stood against the incinerator on substance.

  2. Jay Ginn says:

    We have come to expect national politicians to break election promises. Now we see a blatant breach of promise – not to allow an incinerator in or near Croydon – by Conservative councillors in this borough.

    Against all the arguments and evidence about health risks and traffic congestion in Beddington and beyond; against all the signs of council tax-payers being locked for a generation into a contract that is poor value for money as residual municipal waste reduces; and against massive opposition from the informed public, Croydon councillors agreed the scheme.

    In doing so, they have let badly down the people of Croydon.

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