Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Partying in Sewage

Overview and Scrutiny met this evening to discuss whether to set up a Task & Finish Group into the sewage release at Foreness Point.

Assurances were given that it wouldn’t be duplicating any work being done by the Environment Agency into this but Im not so sure this will be the case. The EA is looking into the technical cause of this, while the aim of this new Panel is to look into the communication/"human interaction" side of things but during the debate there seemed to be moments where it was hitting on EA’s remit, discussing the actual reasons for the leak itself. It will be a tricky balance to hold by whoever becomes the Chair at this new Group's first meeting.

Political proportionality was waived though it was in effect put into place anyway. By proposal by Cllr Harrison, it was voted to be 3 Tories 3 Labour and 1 TIG, but an addendum was put a little bit later to add Tom King as Independent Group Member. I understand the Conservatives have picked Cllrs M Tomlinson, D Saunders and Marson. Labour selected Cllrs Harrison, Hibbert and Campbell. Cllr Driver will represent TIG and Cllr King the Independent Group. I completely agree with this addition in Cllr King. If TIG is on a Scrutiny Party, then so should the Independent Group, thereby forcing all political Groups to work together.

An amendment was also made to the Terms of Reference so that rather than be confined to considering the leaks of the 30th May and 4th June specifically, it will consider “recent incidents”. Good call. When I get the dates of the meetings, I’ll share them with you.

I am a bit concerned though at a potential new investigation into the fees at Minnis Bay Day Centre. I have no problem with discussing the issue but when you look at the TDC Calendar, there are a raft of meetings being held and there’s a very real danger of over-reaching, a point raised by a Panel Member. A report on Scrutiny Arrangements will be appearing at the 7th August OSP meeting apparently and Driver seemed to be giving an indication that there’s been real movement on this.

Tomorrow evening Planning Committee with the second part of consideration of the applications for HMOs on the Wimpey Estate. Could be some revealing information on this one and certainly any application for an HMO is looked upon with some reluctance. Also there are the Broadstairs Albion Bookshop applications (Recommendation to approve), along with the Focus DIY application which I mentioned a few months back. Ill post a report ASAP after the meeting.

Last item, I was a little bit late to the game on the auction of 49-50 Hawley Square. Hadn’t noticed the Extra was reporting last week that TDC was putting in for a Compulsory Purchase Order for what is the remains of the property! I had heard the Council already bought the property about two weeks ago.

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