Thursday, 29 November 2012

Full Council and Animal Exports

Some more stuff is coming out ahead of the Full Council meeting where we now have two motions coming before Council on Royal Sands. The second motion, proposed by Cllr Bayford and supported by Simon Moores, calls that:
“Council resolves that the proposed amended development agreement between Thanet District Council and the developers of Pleasurama/Royal Sands site be brought to full Council for debate and comment prior to signing.”
Perhaps most important to point out here, is that while the above is a purely Council decision which would force Cabinet's hand in having to bring it to Council, the Driver motion is referred to Cabinet for determination. Either way is likely to lead to a degree of closed doors proceedings, due to the commercial sensitivity of the matter, unless of course Members watch their words. Something Chris Wells mentioned over at Thanet Online was about how difficult it was for Members to debate this matter back in 2009 considering the confidentiality of the documentation.

As far as I can see, no motion is on the agenda for the exclusion of press and public, so the assumption would be that Members are expected to keep away from "pink paper" info. I hope they do, because as much as I'd like to hear debate about Royal Sands, I would rather hear it in the Chamber than outside it sometime after.

Also pointed out is a clarification to the Cabinet responsibilities, where it amends David Green's role as Member for "Housing and Planning Services". Not really sure why the word "Services" had to be added aside from it thereby being equal amongst portfolios but it has, and I've adjusted the earlier blog to account for it. I hope readers will allow me a moment of gloating to be the first to report on the changes to the Cabinet responsibilities, ahead of the Thanet Gazette Online!

Moving onto the animal exports issue where TDC via a poorly spelled Cllr Fenner statement and one of its own is pulling off the fastest retreat in recent history, and what looks like begging to be forgiven for banning animal exports in the first place. I will admit I supported the ban but I concede I don't have the legal resources of this Council and trusted the Council to be right. From what was being said, it seemed like TDC was OK to ban it. Since then that perspective has been demolished by a court injunction. I'm taking no joy in saying this. What legal advice was there and at what point did it change?

12 comments:

1 o'clock Rob said...

Good grief does no-one proof read things anymore?

Anonymous said...

James,

Cllr Fenners statement of yesterday doesn't confirm that the Council got it wrong and were high-tailing it out of a legal fight. I thought the Council claimed they were acting on good legal advice when they introduced the export ban. What happened to that advice, or wasn't there any.

Anonymous said...

Funny how MP Gale has nothing recent on his website about the animal exports from Ramsgate. I thought he claimed to be interested in animal welfare, or doesn't he think there are any votes in this particular issue?

Simon Moores said...

I suspect that Roger Gale is leaving the matter to the local MP, who is of course Laura Sandys.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's true, but it is an animal welfare issue on his own doorstep. He's not backwards in shouting his mouth off about things that happen a long way outside his area.

Anonymous said...

I'm not voting for Gale anymore its UKIP for me. This animal export nonsense is all about EU law. Let's get out of the EU. Vote UKIP

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to come out of all this is that the idiots in control are going to cost us a fortune. As least Bayford checked out the legal position and didn't decide to embark on an illegal ban.

Michael Child said...

Sorry have I misunderstood the animal export business? I thought that the temporary ban was instituted when the fiasco of sheep drowning in a drain and having their legs broken by a faulty lorry showed the Port Ramsgate facilities to be inadequate. I had assumed that the legal aspect was based on the council’s lawyers and the ban was supported across all parties.

Whereas I am all for pointing out Labour fiascos, I thought if this was a fiasco it was unilateral, supported by the vast majority of local politicians and the local people they represent.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you're right, Michael. But it seems to suit certain Tory TDC members now to distance themselves from the decision and attempt to score political points against Hart and Co.

Simon Moores said...

Hard;y.. I pretty quickly pointed out to Reg Bell and others that as much as any decent person might support a ban on the Jolene, it lay outside the law, had been tried on many occasions before and had failed with very expensive consequences for the Council's involved.

That's not political point scoring, simply common sense and a rather daft set of animal welfare laws which act against the welfare of animals.

James Maskell said...

The easy solution to this is for us to see the legal advice put before the Council prior to it's decision. Any right thinking Cabinet member would surely have asked for the advice to be written down so it can be properly considered.

Or am I just being a bit thick in saying this?

Anonymous said...

Like Michael, I thought the Council blocked further export activity because of safety issues at the port, NOT because of their opposition in principle to the trade. I saw this as something of a ruse, but, given my personal interest in animal welfare, a good and clever one. Why are others who claim to be intereetd in animal welfare - such as Gale - remaining so silent on this point?

Perhaps because there is now the distraction of the nature and strength of the legal advice given to Thanet Council, and the possibility of embarrassing Hart and Co over this.

I agree that if wrong decisions have been made and there are financial consequences, that should be addressed, but let's keep these two issues separate. At the moment, it seems clear that certain local Tories - including the alleged animal welfare enthusiast Gale - are putting the potential scope for political point-scoring way ahead of animal welfare.