Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Will he stay or will he go?

"Seldom Seen" or just "Busy"?

Cabinet this afternoon, which will be an opportunity for LibDem Group leader Martin "busy" Swainston to make his first appearance since the controversy over his non-attendance at Council budget meetings.

Or perhaps not. Over on his blog, fellow LibDem councillor Mike Barker has suggested that Martin has far too much to do in Hurworth to trouble himself with holding the Labour Executive to account at the Town Hall. He makes a broader charge that Council meetings are a waste of time anyway, and LibDems are far better working in their wards.

Ward work is essential for any dedicated local representative, of course, but I think it's foolish for the LibDems to leave the role of opposition to Labour regarding Council business entirely to the Tories. Local people will soon begin to question what on earth is the point of electing LibDems, if they only do half the job?

So it's over to Martin. If I were a gambling man, I would imagine that Martin has to show his face this afternoon, but second guessing LibDems is always a perilous occupation.

On the agenda are items which include Children's Services capital programme, and discussion of spending of £1.5 million at Hurworth Primary School. If Martin isn't interested in anything else on the agenda, maybe that might tempt him along?


No apologies for absence were proferred at Cabinet, so we don't know why he wasn't there, but once again Martin Swainston missed Cabinet. This time, his place was taken by newly-elected Cllr. Ann-Marie Curry.

So it was left to the Tories to probe on the report regarding the refurbishment of schools in Hurworth...


Venom said...

1.5 Million whats that for?

£1,499,999.99 for the school and the rest a over kind leaving package for the much loved and liked head.

Anonymous said...
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hurworth parent said...

As you rightly raised the issue of the 1.5million to be invested at Hurworth Primary i took the time to look up the Cabinet papers, only to be somewhat concerned by what i read.

In appendix B it states that the proposal is to consolidate the whole school into the infant building (ie the oldest part). This must raise at least two questions; 1- can the existing number of pupils be accommodated ?(ie will the intake be reduced) 2- what is to be done with the vacant land?(assuming the intention is to demolish the newer building)

Whilst of course such a large cash input into the school is very welcome indeed, the two points above need to be addressed.

Further, it is stated that consulation has been held with "key stakeholders such as Headteachers"
Were our borough cllrs, parish council or even the school governors consulted?

Hopefully all the answers to the above questions put ot rest these concerns, but they need to be addressed. I am sure that i dont need to remind you why the village of Hurworth may be somewhat suspicious....!

Ian White said...

Good questions Hurworth Parent, I don't recall any discussion with the Parish Council.

Darlington Councillor said...

I've deleted a post that made allegations concerning a third party.

On the latter 2 points - I've asked Chris McEwan, lead member for Children's Services to provide with an update, and I'll post the response as soon as I get it.

hurworth parent said...

I have now been advised as to the formal response to the questions I raised.
"Although the Infant building is much older, it's condition and general repair is much better. Therefore the proposal accepted by Cabinet in July 2008 was to remodel and extend the existing infant building so as to allow all the children to be accommodated together. I can confirm that there are no plans to reduce the number of children attending the school.In terms of the future of the existing junior building no final decision has yet been made. Options are being considered to a) demolish the building and landscape the area into school playing field or b) using some parts of the junior building (which are in best condition) to accommodate other staff within Children's Services. A full options appraisal will be undertaken before a final decision is made on which option to take forward. I can confirm that there are no plans to sell the land or develop it for anything other than education use."

As long as the "no plans to...." does not evolve into "times change.." then this seems a reasonable proposal and a very welcome investment in our Primary school