In accordance with the Council Procedure Rules the following question was asked:
Councillor C Woods
Would the Leader please inform me at which meeting a vote was taken on the consultation for closure of the leisure centres? A Labour member who is not a cabinet member is quoted in the northern echo claiming to have voted against the council’s consultation on closure and would vote against closure when the process ended.
Would the Leader let me know when there will be an opportunity to vote on the results of the consultation? Will that be a meeting when all members of this Council will be entitled to vote?
Councillor Henig replied as follows:
A decision to consult on the proposed closures had been taken by Cabinet on the 2 March where there had been consensus to accept the recommendations contained in the report. The fact that it was cabinet who made the decision reflects the constitution. The constitution is based upon the current legislation which required a decision like this to be made by the executive, which in turn could be called to account by scrutiny.
The results of the consultation would be brought back to cabinet and they would be considered in full before making any decision.
Councillor Woods commented that many constituents in her electoral division would like their elected members ‘to stand up and be counted’ therefore it was important that decisions such as proposed closure of sports centres were made at full Council.
Councillor Henig added that all members of the County Council were given the opportunity to submit amendments relating to savings proposals at the last meeting of the Council where the leisure services savings were identified and agreed. Whilst there were amendments to other areas of the medium term financial plan, not one of the amendments related to alternative proposals in relation to leisure services.