The Chairman will allow members of the public to ask a question or make a statement about any matter on the agenda for this meeting. These questions may be taken during the meeting, when the relevant agenda item is considered, at the Chairman’s discretion.
Sue Osborne asked a public question regarding Item 8. She expressed disappointment that the call-in request made last week was not allowed by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee despite being called-in by two county councillors and despite the recommendation made by the Committee on 5th September to suspend the disposal of county farms until the review by the Task & Finish Group is completed. Why did the Chair and Vice-Chair of this Committee not allow the two county councillors to exercise their legal right to call-in this key decision? She also expressed disappointment that the Chair and Vice-Chair did not respond to her emails regarding the matter and did not acknowledge receipt. She also expressed concern at the length of time it took to provide a written response to the questions she asked at the 03 October meeting. The written response was received on 27 October. What is the normal time scale for producing a written response? The response stated that Cllr Hall was unable to accept the Scrutiny recommendation as this would have been in contravention of council policy. If this is the case why was this not pointed out at the 05 September meeting when property officers were present? Can you please explain why some of the farms and land on the retain list have been sold - surely this is contrary to policy too? A temporary halt is not a change of policy. It is an appropriate step if you are reviewing a policy. Whilst Scrutiny has no decision making powers, it can make recommendations which carry a material weight. It is either a very wise or very foolish executive which disregards the recommendations of its own scrutiny committee. In light of these events and the written response received, what confidence can I have that Cllr Hall will approach the completed report with an open mind in the event that the Task & Finish Group recommend retention of the remainder of the estate?
It was confirmed that a written response would be sent within ten working days.