MP and council chiefs at loggerheads over HQ meeting - The Leamington Observer

MP and council chiefs at loggerheads over HQ meeting

Ian Hughes 28th Mar, 2018 Updated: 29th Mar, 2018   0

MP Matt Western has been accused of political mischief making by council chiefs at Warwick District Council.

The Warwick and Leamington MP has made no secret of his anger at the authority’s plans to build a new headquarters in Leamington town centre.

The Labour MP has arranged a public meeting at Leamington Town Hall on Monday April 16 to debate the relocation plans, which include redeveloping the council’s current Riverside House headquarters for new homes.

But leader of the Conservative-controlled council Andrew Mobbs, and chief executive Chris Elliott, say they were not made aware of, or invited to attend the meeting before it was announced publicly.

They say they will not attend the meeting but will instead be arranging a public information event of their own to highlight the plans.

Coun Mobbs said: “It would have been common courtesy, on the part of our local MP, to have approached both myself and Chris Elliott first before setting a date for this meeting and publicising it, to see whether we were available to take part. It is not my intention to attend because this is purely a political ploy and mischief making concerning a council decision that has received cross party support over the years.

“The Labour group leader at the time was fully informed and briefed on a regular basis as were other group leaders. All group leaders supported our HQ move.

“Misleading statements and the attempt to whip up a furore for political gain merely damages the district.”

He added the council had followed the usual consultation process with businesses, stakeholders and residents, including an exhibition in the Royal Priors shopping centre, and added he had not received any correspondence from individual businesses who were against the council’s relocation.

But Mr Western refuted Coun Mobbs’ claim and said he had sent an invite for him to attend the meeting before it was made public.

Mr Western, in his response to Coun Mobbs, said: “It is most disappointing that you will not attend the public meeting. I’m sure you don’t need reminding that you are accountable to the public, in a role paid for by the public. I think you may want to reflect on this.

“I’m not sure how many members of the public you’ve spoken to on this matter but they are not happy with the Council proposals and they want to hear from you in public.

“Likewise, businesses feel as though they are not being heard.”

“The consultation and period for public response was over December and fell under the radar of most people hence the demand for you to explain your proposals and decisions. The planning meeting then happened at very short notice in early January, shortly after the closing date for responses, particularly if you take out the Christmas holidays.”


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