Councillors upset over cancelled meeting

IN FRONT OF CLOSED DOORS: Councillors Ian Johnson and Shirley Hodges

IN FRONT OF CLOSED DOORS: Councillors Ian Johnson and Shirley Hodges

First published in News by

OPPOSITION Barry town councilLors have expressed “disappointment” after a meeting was postponed on Tuesday (August 12) because, they say, not enough Labour party councillors could attend.

The council’s Memorial Hall and Theatre Working Party was due to meet to discuss a possible future funding agreement between the Town Council and the Memo, but was cancelled on Tuesday afternoon when it was found not enough members of the majority Labour group could be at the meeting.

Barry Town Council Plaid leader, Cllr Shirley Hodges, said: “The Memorial Hall and Theatre is an important part of Barry history – our war memorial to those who bravely gave their lives in conflict, something especially poignant after last week’s commemoration ceremony at the Cenotaph.

“It is also a successful theatre and performance centre that is trying to grow itself by becoming Barry’s cinema and being able to show blockbuster films or screen live performances from major theatres.

“That is why it is disappointing that the majority Labour group on Barry Town Council are not taking a new funding agreement seriously.

“I understand that councillors on the committee couldn’t attend for a number of reasons. That’s fine – everybody has good reasons why they can’t make meetings, but substitutes are allowed on this committee – so any of the 17 Labour councillors could have attended.

“I find it hugely disappointing that only one of the 17 showed any willingness to do so – meaning that the meeting was cancelled because only Plaid Cymru councillors were able to be there.”

Fellow Plaid councillor, Ian Johnson, who represents the Butrills ward that includes the Memorial Hall and Theatre, added: “Under the last funding agreement, Barry Town Council’s funding for the Memo was cut by more than a third - £70,000 less now than in 2011 - but the council has continued to take people’s council tax as if they were fully funding the Memorial Hall.

“I want to see a fair funding agreement that ensures that the Memorial Hall – Barry’s War Memorial – can thrive in the future and become a real community hub, with a cinema and regular local and touring performances for the enjoyment of the people of Barry.”

Barry Town Council clerk, Cliff Lewis said he had officially cancelled the meeting to be reconvened at a later date.

He said: “Out of the four named members of the working group members, two members were unable to attend due to illness and one councillor following seeking legal advice from the monitoring officer had no option other than step down from that working party. A new member is required to be selected and appointed to serve on the Working Group.”

This left one remaining council member. The working party committee therefore was inquorate in accordance with the local Government Act 1972.

“All members of that Working Party were contacted via telephone and advised of the action taken.”

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