I attended my first Council Meeting recently, as a member of the public.
I do not wish to comment on the agenda as such, nor the political side of the proceedings. More the behaviour of some others there, regarding the collapse of the Harbour Wall.
Ian Anderson, the Head of Legal and Support Services SBC had been requested to present a report on the harbour wall. I presume this was the same one he presented to the Harbour Board Committee last month.
He was met with a power-point presentation from a member of the public. (Who I gather had been given permission by the town council to do so).
This was questioned by Mr Anderson as to why this was allowed, and are all open meetings handled in such a way.
In short, it wasn’t as he was briefed. What happened next was nothing more than a hatchet job, aimed at Mr Anderson. At what seemed to be a pre-arranged point three people got up and proceeded to hand out cartoons to each member of the panel. I now know it to be a cartoon lampooning Mr Anderson personally, who was even accused at laughing at the speaker.
After the speaker had said his piece, he continued to disrupt any chance of Mr Anderson replying, by wandering around the hall, showing photos on his laptop to a panel member. Another member of the public also interrupted by asking for a points of clarification on items he was well aware of. Even stating publicly that if Mr Anderson worked with him, he would find him to be more affable. Draw your own conclusion from that statement.
When Mr Anderson finally had chance to end his presentation, and make his exit, the members of the public in question left just before him. I can only guess their motive to be was to ambush him on the outside. But that is a guess on my part and not to be taken as truth.
As I said, this was my first experience of this type of meeting. While I found it interesting, I was appalled at their behaviour and hope that Mr Anderson does not see all of Whitby folk in the same light. They may not claim to speak for the whole town, but if they did, they would not speak for me.
As a footnote, I have read a great deal of anti WTC and SBC letters recently, and on the whole I agree. However, the meeting was open to the general public, with a surgery before hand. During the meeting a public participation session is allowed, lasting approximately 15 mins, each item to last around three mins.
Nobody took advantage of the surgery, the public session was used properly. But there were very few of us locals there. Less than a dozen.
So, people of Whitby, if you want your voices heard, go to the meetings and use them. If more of us attended, the time allowed would extend, giving more chances. Should there be any open general council meetings, purely for this chance, then go and say you piece. You may not get an answer right away, but if you give them a gentle nudge now and then, you may be surprised. I can say that it seems WTC are as frustrated with SBC as we are.
So instead of badgering these people, let’s encourage by supporting them. WTC are only a few people, Whitby town are thousands.
It’s worth a shot..
Colin Winspear, Windsor Terrace, Whitby by email