I looked at the Agenda for last night’s General Purposes Committee meeting on line and it gave only one incentive
to attend, it looked as though it should be all over and done with inside half an hour. And I was right, 22 minutes
including the Chairman’s welcome to the two members of the public present.
Councillor Cafer Munir always makes visitors feel welcome and chairs most meetings in a friendly and relaxed manner, I just wish he wasn’t so keen on being Teresa O’Neill’s lickspittle at Council meetings.
There were only four items up for discussion and only one not of a ‘technical’ nature. That was the stopping up - this is closure to you and me - of Lensbury Way in Abbey Wood.
It is required as part of Peabody’s redevelopment plans for the area which are already agreed by the Planning Committee. It was not known if Peabody had consulted affected residents but Bexley Council planned to put a Legal Notice in the News Shopper.
The ward Councillor Danny Hackett pointed out that that was not a lot of use because the News shopper does not circulate in that area but a solution was readily obvious. The law has not yet caught up with the demise of local newspapers but the Council is obliged only to put a notice in its pages to fulfill its obligations.
Peabody will be paying for the costs associated with the Stopping up Order. Obviously they are hoping no one will object to their plans, Bexley Council wil charge them extra for any excessive numbers of complaints.
The Committee appeared to be unsure of how long Lensbury Way would be closed for but the Agenda says that the existing route will never reopen. A new Lensbury Way will be constructed to give access to Harrow Manorway a little further to the north than the old one.
The closure was approved unanimously.
A statutory requirement is that Councils must calculate a Council Tax base. Essentially, how many dwellings are there in each Tax Band so that it will have some idea of how much money Council Tax will raise. For the record there are 4,480, 10,531, 29,297, 27,299, 19,340, 4,862, 1686, and 48 houses in Bands A to H respectively. 9,578 are eligible for discounts of various sorts.
The figures for Business Rates were not available.
Finally the Committee was asked to approve pay and pension policy.
Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) sought assurance that the pension manipulation perpetrated by a former Chief Executive who retired on health grounds could not be repeated. He received a reported £300,00 pay off and £50,000 a year pension and promptly got himself a similar job at another Council. Normally that would affect the pension that Bexley Council still pays out each year but in his case it didn’t because he managed to persuade the other Council that he should be remunerated as a self employed person.
There is still no way of preventing such manouvres apart from having a Council unprepared to work fiddles for their friends.
The Conservative bench remained largely mute throughout.