Shiptonthorpe Parish Councillor Richard Waring.

My post a couple of days ago caused a bit of a stir about what went on at a recent Parish Council Meeting.

Newly elected Parish Cllr Richard Waring (pictured) took issue with the fact that decisions about setting the rent for the village hall have been taken in secret and that the council had not been open and honest. Which is a very serious accusation in my opinion.

I’ve done a bit of research and have found the following minute from the PC meeting of 20 April 2023.

Cllr. Lambert raised a point of order to ensure that the following resolution was both proposed, seconded and voted on. This was carried with a 6-1 vote.

RESOLVED:that due to the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the press and public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting (Section 1(2), Public Bodies Admissions to Meetings Act 1960) (JM/HH):
The lease has been received from the solicitor and circulated to all members.
RESOLVED: that Cllr. Lambert prepares a list of questions / queries for circulation. Members can then add to this prior to the document being sent to the solicitor in due course.
In other words there was a motion to exclude the press and public and this was agreed by 6 councillors with one voting against exclusion.
It seems as if the village hall lease was being discussed and as this is a legal issue the council discussed the matter in private in accordance with Section 1(2), Public Bodies Admissions to Meetings Act 1960.

This states that:

“Members of the public and press may be excluded when legal issues are discussed.”

As the issue of the lease is a legal matter this is entirely in line with current guidance. There is nothing underhand about this. The Parish Council was acting responsibly and doing what other Parish Councils do.

I personally have been excluded from most Pocklington Town Council meetings for the past 2 years when staffing and contractual matters have been discussed. It’s frustrating but I have never thought there was anything underhand going on.

What will be interesting in the future is how the new Shiptonthorpe parish council will make decisions about the village hall as many new councillors will have to declare an interest. In other words, some members of the village hall committee will be making a decision about how much rent to charge themselves which surely must be a classic ‘Conflict of Interest’?

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