CALLS are being made to have a debate over the sale of Manor Road Nursery and placing the supply of Scarborough’s plants into the hands of a private company heard in public.
It is due to be heard this afternoon by members of Scarborough Council’s Resources Scrutiny Committee after it was called by two councillors.
But the matter is scheduled to be heard behind closed doors because the report contains sensitive financial information.
Cllr Steve Bairstow, one of the councillors who called the matter in, said it was important that people got the chance to hear the debate. He added: “If they need to discuss the financial side of things that can be discussed after the exclusion of the public.”
He said that the move had not been fully investigated – especially the logistical side of transporting plants 40 miles to Scarborough – and it would not cost as much to improve facilities at Manor Road as what was being claimed. “It doesn’t need a vast fortune spending on it.”
Cllr Bairstow, who has 23 years’ experience as a landscape gardener, said that they managed to collect around 300 signatures for the petition over the weekend and they would keep on campaigning to save the nursery and service ahead of a full council meeting on Friday, March 23, when the final decision is due to be taken.
And Cllr Peter Popple, the other councillor who called the move in, agreed that it should be heard in public because most of the confidential issues were already in the public domain.
He said: “I can’t see anything that the public shouldn’t know – it’s their right to know what’s happening.”
Cllr Popple added that details of the proposed preferred bidder as well as the value of the contract had already been made public and it did not make sense for the council to hide the matter within pink papers – confidential documents printed on pink paper and only issued to councillors and officers. “That £500,000 should stay in Scarborough.”
Previously concerns have been raised that the proposed move – to privatise the supply of plants and sell off the nursery land – was being rushed through.
Members of the Cabinet have made the recommendation to make efficiency savings while making sure the council gets value for money while still maintaining a high quality service.
The petition is being co-ordinated by The Friends Of Manor Road group and for further information contact (01723) 371629.