As readers may now be aware, the council has been trying to force through a decision to build an extension on to the library to house the Visions Children’s Centre.
The Children’s Centre is currently situated at Catmose College, but has to move due to the space being required for the growth of the college.
Everybody agrees that the work that the Visions Children’s Centre does is vital to our community and that a suitable location must be found, however the way our Tory led council has gone about this process seems to be undemocratic and lacking in any public consultation.
Firstly, the idea of building a large extension on to the library and siting the Children’s Centre there, seems illogical.
There are no parking facilities, no dropping off points and the only access to the building requires crossing busy roads.
Secondly and perhaps of even greater concern is how badly the process has been mismanaged!
There has been no consultation with the public, which has led to uproar amongst local residents.
The proposed new location for the Children’s Centre wasn’t even discussed by elected councillors, other than the six Tory councillors who make up the Cabinet.
A paper was taken to Cabinet in September which proposed the library as a venue. This was approved by Cabinet.
However, one would expect a decision as significant as this to be considered by the relevant scrutiny panels prior to Cabinet.
But neither the Places Scrutiny Panel or the Children’s Panel took this paper.
It was only after the Cabinet decision had been made, that the public more generally became aware of the proposal.
Luckily democracy isn’t completely dead in Rutland and the decision still had to go before the Rutland’s Development Control Committee (Planning), which on October 25, refused planning permission for the building of an extension to the Oakham Library to house the Children’s Centre.
At the full council meeting on November 14 (7pm start) the council will sit as a Development Control Committee to reconsider the previous decision and (no doubt using the Tory Whip) the proposal will be passed.
Rather than wasting time and money forcing this decision through, the council should be consulting with the public and trying to identify a suitable site for the Children’s Centre.
Ed Reynolds, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rutland and Melton