Havering councillors debate on letting public back in chambers
A proposal to allow the public to return sitting in the council chamber, was defeated
At a regulatory services committee in October a riot sparked in the council chamber after plans to convert Will Perrin Court into a hostel and councillors complained at the time they felt intimidated.
The governance committee later voted to stop the public from entering the council chamber during full council, and to sit in the balcony, unless they were invited guests.
On Wednesday night at a full council meeting Cllr Jeff Tucker (leader of Independent Residents’ Group) brought forward a motion to lift the ban.
The motion said: “The council believes that the Administration’s decision to exclude guests from the council chamber and public from the side gallery during council meetings was made for petty political, rather than security reasons.
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“Therefore in the interests of democratic and accountable government, this decision must be reversed.”
He added during the meeting: “What have they done wrong? Doesn’t the Administration want the public to attend? The decision to restrict access is an over reaction.”
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Cllr Denis O’Flynn (Labour) said: “This is a situation where we are using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. You should take it back and come back with a logical conclusion. They are the people who pay taxes and your allowances. They should be allowed back.”
Cllr John Mylod (Residents’ Association [RA]) said: “In the interests of democracy we should support the public to be here.”
Cllr Clarence Barrett (RA leader) said: “This Conservative Administration talk about being an open council but this is totalitarian nonsense.
“We will support this motion because it is quite sensible.”
The motion was lost 19 votes to 32.