Brentwood councillor accepts role as chairman of Town Hall group
After weeks of turmoil within the Brentwood Conservative Party, the future of the town hall project looks closer to being resolved.
The Recorder can reveal that Conservative Cllr Russell Quirk, who three weeks ago proposed the amendment – against his own leadership –that the council should stay in the town hall, has accepted the role of chairman of the Town Hall Delivery Group.
Cllr Quirk, whose motion was supported by a large Tory rebellion, previously said he couldn’t yet make a decision about joining the group.
But after a meeting on Wednesday night with council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay and council officers, he accepted the job.
Cllr Quirk said: “We’ve fleshed out the scope of the group, and I’m looking forward to delivering the future of the town hall, keeping the council within it and allowing commercial operators to operate within it.”
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He said that one other Conservative councillor, as well as the LibDem and Labour leaders, will be invited to join the group – which will have many of its meetings open to the public to ensure it is transparent.
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The news comes at the end of a week in which the opposition LibDems had asked the mayor to hold an emergency council meeting to explain how the town hall project would be taken forward, a call which some Conservative councillors were “sympathetic” to.
Later it emerged that two officials – Cllr William Lloyd and Ken Lewis – had stood down from prominent roles within the local Conservative Party due to internal disputes.
LibDem leader Cllr David Kendall has met Mayor Cllr Joan Holmes and council officers, and has asked a series of questions about the future of the town hall.
He is expecting answers tomorrow (Friday) and the party will then decide whether to ask again for Brentwood Council’s summer recess to be suspended.
Cllr Kendall said: “If we get these answers in full it might mean we won’t have an emergency meeting.
“If we do get them, it will mean we have made significant progress.”
Cllr Quirk said: “I can assure you that there hasn’t been a lack of progress. I’ve had meetings, not just internal ones, about this project.
“But it will take time, it’s not going to be completed within days.”