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Concerns raised over mounting number of cancelled Gravesham council meetings

PUBLISHED: 10:18 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 16 June 2017

Gravesham council offices

Gravesham council offices

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Meetings about community services, environment and housing have been cancelled since January

Concerns have been raised by Gravesham council leaders over the number of cancelled council committee meetings.

The council’s cabinet is formed of Conservative councillors who each have a portfolio. Each portfolio has it’s own politically balanced committee, called cabinet committees, made up of nine councillors, which meets regularly so members can share issues for the cabinet member to take to agenda meetings.

Since January seven meetings have been cancelled in total, something which Gravesham Labour leader, councillor John Burden labelled “concerning.”

A council spokesperson said: “In the last municipal year seven cabinet committee meetings across the five areas were cancelled. So far in this municipal year two meetings have had to be rescheduled due to the election.”

Cllr Burden said: “It’s absolutely crazy, it means that those of us who aren’t Conservative councillors and on the cabinet aren’t getting a say on anything.

“They’ve cancelled community services, and housing meetings. What about those Gravesham residents who need housing, they’re just expected to wait even longer. Performance and administration meetings also keep getting cancelled. Those meetings are for us to review how the council is operating, they’re extremely important, and yet for a lot of the meetings that come up portfolio holders are saying ‘there’s nothing to be discussed’ which is absurd.”

Council leader, David Turner, said: “I am also very concerned about this, and I understand why Labour councillors have raised this issue, as it means they’re losing their chance to have a say within the council.

“Portfolio holders have been cancelling meetings and stating their reason as there’s nothing to discuss, however, in my view they need to find something to talk about. There should always be more we can do, and therefore more to talk about.

“The cabinet committee meetings are very worthwhile and cancellation should be rare. However, some recent cancellations were caused by the intervention of elections. We should all be looking harder to find interesting things to discuss and I will be encouraging members of committees and cabinet members to suggest agenda items.

“I’m working to try and fix this issue within the council.”

Cancelled meetings include topics such as community services, environmental services, performance/administration, and housing.

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