A hastily arranged meeting to discuss the council’s decision not to put the North Street car park out took a dramatic twist thus afternoon (Friday)
The decision had been called-in by Labour leader Cllr Steve Siddons and the council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee convened at the Town Hall to hear his reasons.
However, minutes after the meeting began four Labour members withdrew from the committee in protest at the speed at which the meeting was arranged, and that it had not been sent to the Resources Scrutiny Committee.
The councillors felt that any decision made by the Environment Committee would not be legal, something the council’s legal advisors disputed.
Cllr Siddons then spoke to say he was withdrawing his call-in from the meeting in order to resubmit it to the correct committee.
He said he also had concerns that the meeting had been flagged as ‘Urgent’ and had been arranged at less than three days notice.
“A decision to ‘do nothing’ can go on forever, it is not ever urgent,” he said.
He added: “I did ask the chief executive and monitoring officer to check this committee has the power to consider the call-in and why the decision was suddenly urgent.
“I also sought independent advice.
“That independent advice suggests that any decision by the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on this matter could not be relied on, would be ultra vires and would be open to judicial review.”
Speaking after the meeting he told The Scarborough News he would resubmit the call-in so it can be heard by the Resources Committee.
Cllr Dilys Cluer, who was as signatory on the call-in, said she was ‘upset’ Cllr Siddons withdrew his motion from the committee.
She added: “This town has never really had a proper discussion about where a cinema should be. “I don’t know what will happen now, i’m not sure the council has ever been in this situation before.”
Before the meeting closed Cllr Mike Cockerill spoke to defend the decision of the cabinet, which was made on Tuesday last week at a behind-closed-doors meeting.
He said: “I saw no evidence to suggest that disposing of the car park was in the best interests of the council tax payers of this borough.”