Anger over ‘farce’ of community stadium meeting

Updated in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Political Reporter

CRUNCH talks over York’s community stadium which descended into a row over secrecy have been branded “an utter farce”.

Three councillors called into question a decision by City of York Council’s ruling Labour cabinet over a revised business case for the £19.2 million Monks Cross scheme and a new rent deal with the company operating Huntington Stadium and other leisure facilities.

They asked for the decision to be scrutinised. But their “call-in” was defeated at the subsequent scrutiny committee meeting.

The handling of the issue at that meeting has now come under fire, after councillors who were not on the scrutiny committee or had not officially seen confidential papers were asked to leave the room while they were discussed.

Green councillor Dave Taylor, who “called in” the issue with Couns Ian Gillies and Mark Warters, said that as he had already legitimately seen and read the confidential papers he had no intention of leaving.

He later offered to leave while certain questions were asked.

He described the lengthy debate about confidentiality which followed as “pointless” and “a shambles of secrecy”.

He also questioned why “elected members are supposedly not permitted to see all the papers”.

He said: “It was an utter farce. How can members truly scrutinise decisions if some of the information is kept secret?

“It merely encourages more information to be kept confidential to deter proper scrutiny.”

Council leader Coun James Alexander said the meeting was “a waste of time”, and said he had raised it with committee chair Coun Sian Wiseman and group leaders.

He claimed there had been a danger of the meeting being called off, which would have been “bureaucratic nonsense”, delayed the stadium project and added to costs, and he believed Coun Taylor should not have been asked to leave.

He said: “A commonsense solution must be found so we discuss the issues which matter to York people – meetings like this are full of hot air with no real outcome.”

In an email to Coun Alexander, Coun Gillies said the authority’s scrutiny process under Labour was “in total disarray” and the councillors asked to leave the meeting – which he described as “a debacle” – had already seen the confidential details.

Liberal Democrat leader Coun Carol Runciman, who chairs the council’s standards board, said she would raise the matter with officials to avoid a repeat.

She said: “Councillors must be able to have a proper debate, not be hampered by processes.”

Comments (26)

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8:40am Thu 22 Nov 12

The Great Buda says...

Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this. The Great Buda
  • Score: 0

8:44am Thu 22 Nov 12

Even AndyD says...

Local politics at its worst. Forget the issue, lets just all point score off each other and delay things. Embarrassing on all sides of the political spectrum.

£43m of council offices are almost built, but the stadium which costs the taxpayer a fraction of that and had been in the pipeline four times as long, is still very much on the ground. Nice to know where councilors priorities lie.

I think residents on both sides of the stadium debate are now united in their disgust for this farce. Sort it out, one way or another or face ballot box consequences. Lots of us are sick of it.
Local politics at its worst. Forget the issue, lets just all point score off each other and delay things. Embarrassing on all sides of the political spectrum. £43m of council offices are almost built, but the stadium which costs the taxpayer a fraction of that and had been in the pipeline four times as long, is still very much on the ground. Nice to know where councilors priorities lie. I think residents on both sides of the stadium debate are now united in their disgust for this farce. Sort it out, one way or another or face ballot box consequences. Lots of us are sick of it. Even AndyD
  • Score: 0

8:54am Thu 22 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

york politburo at its worst.a democratic decision was reached so get over yourselves and let the thing go ahead.
york politburo at its worst.a democratic decision was reached so get over yourselves and let the thing go ahead. roskoboskovic
  • Score: 0

9:23am Thu 22 Nov 12

Oaklands Resident says...

The Tories and Greens - who have both consistently opposed the stadium project - probably were using this meeting to try to make a political point. Although I don’t agree with their views, they are entitled to do so. It is called democratic debate and would not have delayed the project.

But the current reluctance of the present Council Leadership to take decisions openly, after providing residents with the opportunity to read and understand what is being proposed, is a major threat to democracy in the City.

They are presiding over the biggest step backwards in resident engagement ever seen in the City.

Wake up. Your rights are being taken away and The Press now seems to be part of the conspiracy of silence.
The Tories and Greens - who have both consistently opposed the stadium project - probably were using this meeting to try to make a political point. Although I don’t agree with their views, they are entitled to do so. It is called democratic debate and would not have delayed the project. But the current reluctance of the present Council Leadership to take decisions openly, after providing residents with the opportunity to read and understand what is being proposed, is a major threat to democracy in the City. They are presiding over the biggest step backwards in resident engagement ever seen in the City. Wake up. Your rights are being taken away and The Press now seems to be part of the conspiracy of silence. Oaklands Resident
  • Score: 0

9:25am Thu 22 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............
[quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built............. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

9:34am Thu 22 Nov 12

sheps lad says...

pedalling paul wrote:
The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............
Would you prefer a velodrome?
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............[/p][/quote]Would you prefer a velodrome? sheps lad
  • Score: 0

9:37am Thu 22 Nov 12

iamspartacus says...

Oaklands Resident, you make it all sound almost apocalyptic! Calm down!

You might have missed the article in the Press this morning about the Genius engagement project winning a national award...

I think a large amount of the problem is opposition councillors' incessant need to question every little thing as somehow destroying the future of York. That isn't effective opposition. Effective opposition is learning to choose your battles, question when questions are due, try some co-operative working despite political differences, offer constructive criticism - all things which seem entirely lacking at present and is just putting ordinary people off politics.
Oaklands Resident, you make it all sound almost apocalyptic! Calm down! You might have missed the article in the Press this morning about the Genius engagement project winning a national award... I think a large amount of the problem is opposition councillors' incessant need to question every little thing as somehow destroying the future of York. That isn't effective opposition. Effective opposition is learning to choose your battles, question when questions are due, try some co-operative working despite political differences, offer constructive criticism - all things which seem entirely lacking at present and is just putting ordinary people off politics. iamspartacus
  • Score: 0

9:49am Thu 22 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

Seems some councillors will go out of their way stop stop any development that is good for York. Wish I knew what their hidden agenda was.
Seems some councillors will go out of their way stop stop any development that is good for York. Wish I knew what their hidden agenda was. Sawday2
  • Score: 0

10:10am Thu 22 Nov 12

duffy says...

pedalling paul wrote:
The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............
We know, but you are also in the minority given the percentage of views for and against. This is just more petty politics aimed at delaying it even further. The decision has been made and passed so for gods sake lets just get on with it.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............[/p][/quote]We know, but you are also in the minority given the percentage of views for and against. This is just more petty politics aimed at delaying it even further. The decision has been made and passed so for gods sake lets just get on with it. duffy
  • Score: 0

10:12am Thu 22 Nov 12

The Great Buda says...

pedalling paul wrote:
The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............
You're in the minority (again).

As Sawday2 says; their are some in this City who do not want the residents to ever have anything. They are holding York back.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............[/p][/quote]You're in the minority (again). As Sawday2 says; their are some in this City who do not want the residents to ever have anything. They are holding York back. The Great Buda
  • Score: 0

10:20am Thu 22 Nov 12

TerryYork says...

The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
Well said!
[quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]Well said! TerryYork
  • Score: 0

10:24am Thu 22 Nov 12

greenmonkey says...

Regardless of what the agenda item was, suggesting that someone who has legitimately already read the confidential papers must leave the room when they are discussed when that councillor has called for the committee to scrutinise that decision is clearly a nonsense. Perhaps the chair had mis-read the constitution, but certainly not applied common sense and natural justice to the situation. Democracy depends on those in opposition being able to question decisions of the ruling group - sometimes this may be used for their political advantage but if you take away that right you move down the road towards the situation that brought us the scandal of MP's expenses. Labour need to get a grip on this and realise that just because they have an overall majority doesnt mean they should avoid legitimate scrutiny of their management by opposition councillors. If the correct rules were being followed they need to be changed to make sense and allow all councillors to discuss in private any confidential papers as Cllr Taylor had been demanding the right to do.
Regardless of what the agenda item was, suggesting that someone who has legitimately already read the confidential papers must leave the room when they are discussed when that councillor has called for the committee to scrutinise that decision is clearly a nonsense. Perhaps the chair had mis-read the constitution, but certainly not applied common sense and natural justice to the situation. Democracy depends on those in opposition being able to question decisions of the ruling group - sometimes this may be used for their political advantage but if you take away that right you move down the road towards the situation that brought us the scandal of MP's expenses. Labour need to get a grip on this and realise that just because they have an overall majority doesnt mean they should avoid legitimate scrutiny of their management by opposition councillors. If the correct rules were being followed they need to be changed to make sense and allow all councillors to discuss in private any confidential papers as Cllr Taylor had been demanding the right to do. greenmonkey
  • Score: 0

10:28am Thu 22 Nov 12

PhilipInYork says...

Taylor sounds like he's desperate for attention again, given his utter irrelevance. Sore loser, and a classic dimwit if ever there was. Boot him out of office at the first opportunity.
Taylor sounds like he's desperate for attention again, given his utter irrelevance. Sore loser, and a classic dimwit if ever there was. Boot him out of office at the first opportunity. PhilipInYork
  • Score: 0

10:31am Thu 22 Nov 12

PhilipInYork says...

pedalling paul wrote:
The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............
Speaking of attention seekers....

I hope you didn't post that while riding your hippy tricycle down the middle of the inner ring road, like you usually do "to make a point".

You're up there with Plastic Paul for having an unwelcome reputation.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm one of the people of York and I don't want to see it built.............[/p][/quote]Speaking of attention seekers.... I hope you didn't post that while riding your hippy tricycle down the middle of the inner ring road, like you usually do "to make a point". You're up there with Plastic Paul for having an unwelcome reputation. PhilipInYork
  • Score: 0

11:24am Thu 22 Nov 12

iamspartacus says...

Greenmonkey - the chair attempting to make the decision on Cllr Taylor's presence was an opposition councillor, so this highlights need for cross-party co-operation and clarification on rules, not just Labour.
Greenmonkey - the chair attempting to make the decision on Cllr Taylor's presence was an opposition councillor, so this highlights need for cross-party co-operation and clarification on rules, not just Labour. iamspartacus
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 22 Nov 12

cityforthepremier says...

PhilipInYork wrote:
Taylor sounds like he's desperate for attention again, given his utter irrelevance. Sore loser, and a classic dimwit if ever there was. Boot him out of office at the first opportunity.
89% of the people of Fishergate didn't want him, as we established yesterday. Or, if we're being charitable, 74% of the people who managed to put their disillusionment with ego-mad local hobby-politicians to one side and turned up to vote. The political class in this city is a total embarrassment but we York people only have ourselves to blame, allowing these student activists to settle here and then meddle in our affairs as a way of avoiding getting a real job.
[quote][p][bold]PhilipInYork[/bold] wrote: Taylor sounds like he's desperate for attention again, given his utter irrelevance. Sore loser, and a classic dimwit if ever there was. Boot him out of office at the first opportunity.[/p][/quote]89% of the people of Fishergate didn't want him, as we established yesterday. Or, if we're being charitable, 74% of the people who managed to put their disillusionment with ego-mad local hobby-politicians to one side and turned up to vote. The political class in this city is a total embarrassment but we York people only have ourselves to blame, allowing these student activists to settle here and then meddle in our affairs as a way of avoiding getting a real job. cityforthepremier
  • Score: 0

11:37am Thu 22 Nov 12

redbluelion says...

And i thought the go ahead had been given..what a right old shambles york is becoming,i give up..this will never get built..not in my lifetime anyway.york is all about the rich folk that come here to live and not about the folk who are born and bred here..
And i thought the go ahead had been given..what a right old shambles york is becoming,i give up..this will never get built..not in my lifetime anyway.york is all about the rich folk that come here to live and not about the folk who are born and bred here.. redbluelion
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 22 Nov 12

greenmonkey says...

redbluelion wrote:
And i thought the go ahead had been given..what a right old shambles york is becoming,i give up..this will never get built..not in my lifetime anyway.york is all about the rich folk that come here to live and not about the folk who are born and bred here..
The go ahead has been given, but it is still a council project that will be managed by the council. Whether or not you supported the project and the use of an out of town shopping centre to fund it, it's vital that it doesnt end up another Barbican pool scenario (with a business model that doesnt stack up down the line). I understand that is the issue that the opposition councillors wanted to scrutinise - that means a cross party examination of the case, not just a simple majority vote on a committee that gives the ruling group more back bench councillors than those of other parties. The scrutiny committee only has the power to ask the cabinet to review the decision, it cannot change it anyway.
[quote][p][bold]redbluelion[/bold] wrote: And i thought the go ahead had been given..what a right old shambles york is becoming,i give up..this will never get built..not in my lifetime anyway.york is all about the rich folk that come here to live and not about the folk who are born and bred here..[/p][/quote]The go ahead has been given, but it is still a council project that will be managed by the council. Whether or not you supported the project and the use of an out of town shopping centre to fund it, it's vital that it doesnt end up another Barbican pool scenario (with a business model that doesnt stack up down the line). I understand that is the issue that the opposition councillors wanted to scrutinise - that means a cross party examination of the case, not just a simple majority vote on a committee that gives the ruling group more back bench councillors than those of other parties. The scrutiny committee only has the power to ask the cabinet to review the decision, it cannot change it anyway. greenmonkey
  • Score: 0

11:55am Thu 22 Nov 12

bob the builder says...

I doubt it will ever get built, the price keeps going up, and understandably no one wants to sign up to an open ended invoice. If York had premier sports teams the funding would be forthcoming from TV rights etc but it hasn't and won't. York will remain a city of derelict plots and wasteground till the economy returns to boom (about 20 years in my economic forecast).
I doubt it will ever get built, the price keeps going up, and understandably no one wants to sign up to an open ended invoice. If York had premier sports teams the funding would be forthcoming from TV rights etc but it hasn't and won't. York will remain a city of derelict plots and wasteground till the economy returns to boom (about 20 years in my economic forecast). bob the builder
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Jackanory2 says...

Boring, politicians scoring points, Pedalling P***k being a div, why the press bothers any more I don't know, and they wander why turn out for elections are dropping when these are the only idiots we have to vote for. As some said the other night the fact that you want to be a politician should bar you from ever being one.
Boring, politicians scoring points, Pedalling P***k being a div, why the press bothers any more I don't know, and they wander why turn out for elections are dropping when these are the only idiots we have to vote for. As some said the other night the fact that you want to be a politician should bar you from ever being one. Jackanory2
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

"The scrutiny committee only has the power to ask the cabinet to review the decision, it cannot change it anyway."

So why waste money and time? It's stupidity like this that really p****** people off about local politics. The decision has been taken. End of. now just get on with getting it built before bats/hedgehogs/ lesser spotted wombat/ gypsies move in and then we're all doomed.
"The scrutiny committee only has the power to ask the cabinet to review the decision, it cannot change it anyway." So why waste money and time? It's stupidity like this that really p****** people off about local politics. The decision has been taken. End of. now just get on with getting it built before bats/hedgehogs/ lesser spotted wombat/ gypsies move in and then we're all doomed. Sawday2
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Thu 22 Nov 12

BioLogic says...

The Great Buda wrote:
Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can.

Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.
I'm not keen to see it built either as it has the potential to do enormous harm to the development of York for years to come.

I'd love to know where duffy got these "percentage of views" from. I don't recall anyone taking a vote?

It's never going to get built until the developer has tenants for everything. You will be lucky to see it built before 2016 at his rate. It will be interesting to come back in ten years time and see if it ever got built, or if we got a new John Lewis and nothing else......
[quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: Having lost at every turn, they are now trying to hold the development up as much as they can. Pathetic. Get it built, the people of York want this.[/p][/quote]I'm not keen to see it built either as it has the potential to do enormous harm to the development of York for years to come. I'd love to know where duffy got these "percentage of views" from. I don't recall anyone taking a vote? It's never going to get built until the developer has tenants for everything. You will be lucky to see it built before 2016 at his rate. It will be interesting to come back in ten years time and see if it ever got built, or if we got a new John Lewis and nothing else...... BioLogic
  • Score: 0

4:19pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Local lassie says...

So we now have more fun with the famous community stadium. I thought it had to be built by a certain time due to obligations to pay back a loan so how can they now delay building it for another year or more? After all the money that's been wasted by the Council they might as well have knocked Bootham Crescent down and rebuilt it on the same site.
So we now have more fun with the famous community stadium. I thought it had to be built by a certain time due to obligations to pay back a loan so how can they now delay building it for another year or more? After all the money that's been wasted by the Council they might as well have knocked Bootham Crescent down and rebuilt it on the same site. Local lassie
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Thu 22 Nov 12

meme says...

All the spin about timing etc was rubbish
CoYC politicians would have sold us anything to save the footie club and help the developers.
However its not a done deal as its costing us more as ratepayers and Oakgrab will not build this until they have sold an investment which is a task in itself in todays world so its a long way from actually starting but no one in CoYC will admit this and Oakgrab also will not
This is a serious 'watch this space'I'm sceptical and I was on balance for it however i dont know if I was in the minority or majority. I suspect minority if we take all of York... except of course our sel fesving and misleading politicuians and their officers
All the spin about timing etc was rubbish CoYC politicians would have sold us anything to save the footie club and help the developers. However its not a done deal as its costing us more as ratepayers and Oakgrab will not build this until they have sold an investment which is a task in itself in todays world so its a long way from actually starting but no one in CoYC will admit this and Oakgrab also will not This is a serious 'watch this space'I'm sceptical and I was on balance for it however i dont know if I was in the minority or majority. I suspect minority if we take all of York... except of course our sel fesving and misleading politicuians and their officers meme
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Thu 22 Nov 12

TerryYork says...

Why does the same guy with five usernames always spend his time spewing crap on here.

The City Centre is not going to be damaged by a John Lewis and Marks and Sparks at Monks Cross. Jesus wept.

As far as the idiotic "If York City was Premier League the TV money would buy the ground". Clearly another example of someone moving from a hell hole part of Birmingham to York and thinking he can tell us what's best for the city he's just moved to.
Why does the same guy with five usernames always spend his time spewing crap on here. The City Centre is not going to be damaged by a John Lewis and Marks and Sparks at Monks Cross. Jesus wept. As far as the idiotic "If York City was Premier League the TV money would buy the ground". Clearly another example of someone moving from a hell hole part of Birmingham to York and thinking he can tell us what's best for the city he's just moved to. TerryYork
  • Score: 0

1:38am Fri 23 Nov 12

Scarlet Pimpernel says...

TerryYork wrote:
Why does the same guy with five usernames always spend his time spewing crap on here. The City Centre is not going to be damaged by a John Lewis and Marks and Sparks at Monks Cross. Jesus wept. As far as the idiotic "If York City was Premier League the TV money would buy the ground". Clearly another example of someone moving from a hell hole part of Birmingham to York and thinking he can tell us what's best for the city he's just moved to.
Who is the guy from Birmingham with five usernames ?
[quote][p][bold]TerryYork[/bold] wrote: Why does the same guy with five usernames always spend his time spewing crap on here. The City Centre is not going to be damaged by a John Lewis and Marks and Sparks at Monks Cross. Jesus wept. As far as the idiotic "If York City was Premier League the TV money would buy the ground". Clearly another example of someone moving from a hell hole part of Birmingham to York and thinking he can tell us what's best for the city he's just moved to.[/p][/quote]Who is the guy from Birmingham with five usernames ? Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Score: 0

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