Borough meeting cancelled – for the third time this year

Grafton House, Ipswich council's headquarters.

Grafton House, Ipswich council's headquarters. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council may be facing major issues like the development of the Northern Fringe, the status of hundreds of members of staff, and the future of the town centre – but there is nothing to talk about at next week’s meeting.

The scheduled full council meeting, which is due to take place every six weeks, has been cancelled due to lack of business.

It is the third time this year that a scheduled meeting of the full council has been cancelled for the same reason – only six of the scheduled nine meetings for 2013 went ahead.

The administration says that there are no issues that need to be settled by the full council before its next scheduled meeting on January 29.

And the opposition Conservatives said they had not put down any motions for discussion because they had not been aware there was nothing else on the agenda – and had missed the deadline for submitting one.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “There is a cost in staging a meeting. And while there were some items we could have approved there, there was nothing that could not wait until the next meeting so we felt it was better to save the money.”

The cost saving will be greater than normal because usually the last meeting before Christmas ends with sherry and mince pies!

Most Read

Opposition Conservative leader Christ Stewart said his group had not been aware that there was nothing else on the agenda.

He said: “It is a case of nobody asking us if we had any business we wanted to see discussed. I cannot believe there are not things that could have been brought forward.”

He said his group had considered putting forward a motion on the housing situation on the town, but by the time they had agreed this, the deadline for submitting motions had passed.

“We have to agree a motion before we put it down in the name of the group and this was not cleared in time,” he said.

Mr Ellesmere pointed out that the calendar of meetings was published at least a year in advance – and the deadline for motions to be submitted was well-known to all councillors.

Ipswich’s Conservative MP Ben Gummer found himself torn at the news that there would be no meeting next week.

He said: “I’m tempted to say that this is good because it means the council will not be pushing ahead with any more rules.

“But with low-paid workers at the council facing pay cuts, the Northern Fringe getting more important, and the town centre/Westgate Centre issue I really would have thought there would be quite a bit to talk about.”

And Ipswich-based businessman Mark Ling felt the borough should have taken the chance to involve all councillors in a debate on how to promote the town.

He said: “This would have been a great opportunity to get the message across about what Ipswich has to offer. It seems a bit a shame not to take that opportunity.”