Employee speaks out against Town Hall plans

Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street. 'A Town Team public meeting in the Royal Hotel ballroom, full to standing room only, was held about the future of the Town Hall, which Scarborough Council have proposed to sell off and move out. Picture by Andrew Higgins   121831h  02/05/12
Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street. 'A Town Team public meeting in the Royal Hotel ballroom, full to standing room only, was held about the future of the Town Hall, which Scarborough Council have proposed to sell off and move out. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121831h 02/05/12

Consultations with staff at Scarborough Council in to plans to relocate the Town Hall have been deemed a “sham” by an employee at the authority.

A letter has been sent to the Scarborough News from an insider at the Town Hall, stating staff are generally against plans to relocate their jobs to Eastfield.

The worker, who does not want to be named through fear of losing their job, also raises doubts about maintenance figures put forward by the council as a reason for moving to the former Scarborough Building Society headquarters.

In their letter the employee says: “I can assure you that there is virtually no support for the move to Eastfield among ordinary council staff.

“The ‘consultation’ has been a sham, asking us to respond to misleading questions, often with multiple answers instead of a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

“The original justification was based on cost saving, but the figures are contradictory, based on dubious assumptions and inconsistent presentations of the finances.

“Council management is determined to force this through. Staff are being sold the move heavily and are fearful of raising objections, given the tough economic times and lack of alternative jobs.

“We the employees are just ordinary people trying to keep our jobs and pay our bills. The council management see us as expendable fodder.

“We need to do everything we can to stop this disastrous plan. I love Scarborough and its community, I’m sure I’m not alone.”

Speaking in response Nicholas Edwards, head of Finance and Asset Management at the council, said: “While individuals are of course entitled to their own opinions, I would like to refute the claim that the consultation has been a “sham”.

“Firstly a working group of cross party councillors was established to help decide how a comprehensive consultation should be run.

“The formal consultation lasted five weeks and involved presentations with questions and answer sessions to main community groups and town councils across the borough, tours of Prospect House for staff, councillors, key partners and members of the youth community (representing the future of our borough), councillor tours of Town Hall buildings, three separate staff briefings and involvement of the trade unions.

“In addition to the consultation a questionnaire was sent to all 335 council employees based at the Town Hall, all 50 councillors, 796 people on our Residents Panel and 135 people on our Business Panel, as well as being included on our website with printed copies placed at Customer First sites across the borough and the library in Scarborough.

“The claim that management is determined to force this through is misguided. As a democratic process, it is not management that will be making the decision of which option to go for, but all 50 councillors that make up Full Council. Opinions do differ among councillors and so to claim “it is a done deal” is far from the truth.

“If any staff member is finding the financial figures hard to understand, they are more than welcome to contact me directly and I will go through them in detail.”