Exmouth barred from speaking on Rolle future

PUBLISHED: 12:42 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 12:09 10 June 2010

A COMPLAINT will be lodged after County bosses ruled that a delegation from Exmouth is barred from speaking at a crucial meeting that could determine Rolle College s future.

A COMPLAINT will be lodged after County bosses ruled that a delegation from Exmouth is barred from speaking at a crucial meeting that could determine Rolle College's future.

The Tory-run council reversed a pledge to invest in the Douglas Avenue site for use as a post 16 college - the community college's sixth form is predicted to swell by 38 per cent by 2014.

The decision was called in by the scrutiny committee, and a cross-party delegation of councillors, College governors and the public appeared to win the argument.

But the decision was 'deferred' because two key members of the cabinet against the purchase, council leader John Hart and education portfolio holder Christine Channon were at the Tory conference.

But this week it was revealed that at the October 30 councillors can speak but the Exmouth delegation cannot - blocking them from appealing to the two people who really matter.

Dan Looker, scrutiny officer, wrote to the town clerk and said: "...the meeting on 30 October 2009 is not a new meeting... (therefore the chairman)... will not ...be allowing further representations..."

Clerk John Wokersien said: "...this process seems to become more convoluted and difficult for community representation by the minute.

"If this is to be likened to a court of law, I know of no court that would meet without the judge being present so that he could hear all the witnesses.

"As the chairman...can only take evidence the ultimate judge surely in this case is the leader of the council.

"The decision made...was deferment and not postponement - a word that was not used...

"The scrutiny committee in our eyes will therefore be a new meeting in place of the original.

"In which case the process needs to start again, tortuous as this may seem. Our complaint...will undoubtedly extend to this scrutiny process unless the County Council is able to give itself the time which is needed to reconsider this whole question with recourse to all the necessary facts in an open and transparent way."

Exmouth county councillor called the decision 'outrageous' while the town's Tory planning chairman Lynne Elson on Monday criticised Cllrs Channon and Hart for not making representations by audio phone at the first meeting - and pointed out that MP Hugo Swire did and he was at the same conference.


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