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The Scrutiny meeting yesterday on the call-in about the Cabinet decision on the sale of the Red House site to a PSMH, a private body, (passed on 9 July) was well chaired and a good example of some Councillors doing their job to ensure that decision-making is open and transparent. The questions asked yesterday evening threw up some important new information about the sale and makes it clear to me that it is possibly unlawful on grounds that it breaches public procurement law and that there was no proper Equality Impact Assessment and therefore in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
The questions asked showed though that officers have misled Councillors and the public in the way that their recommendations were set out in the Report that was written for the Cabinet decision on 9 July. That is because the Officers' report and recommendations omitted to mention key facts, such as: there have been no recent communications with the owners of the Church, the former pub or the Mitalee Centre so that information about the alleged failure of the Church and the former pub (now community cafe) to co-operate with the Council refers to the situation from many years ago. The Cabinet member for housing made it clear that there is no guarantee of getting any Council homes after selling the land to PSMH and this completely undermines her argument that time is of the essence or that this is the best option available on balance. Her attempts to silence the extremely perceptive questions asked by Cllr Pippa Connor was a disgrace.
The answers to questions by officers yesterday shows that due diligence has not been done and the legal arrangements proposed are potentially in breach of EU and national law. Time to get campaigning again.