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Walk-out in row on Liskeard Portas Pilot voting

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: June 29, 2012

Mary Portas

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LISKEARD'S success in becoming a Portas Pilot town was soured when four local councillors stormed out of a public meeting.

They were joined by the town clerk and the chairman of Liskeard's chamber of commerce, among others.

There were almost 300 people at the Public Hall who were given a free vote on the make-up of the management team which would oversee the use of the £100,000 windfall.

But the four councillors and town clerk Andrew Deacon claim the voting procedure was unconstitutional, a view ignored by members of the Liskeard Town Team, which put the bid together, and which was given short shrift by many at the meeting.

And there could be further cracks within the community with the town team now undecided on whether to co- operate with a television production company planning to come to Liskeard to film a Channel Four documentary on Portas Pilot towns.

It follows adverse criticism by businesses in Margate, Kent, also a Portas Pilot town, over the way their town may be portrayed in the filming.

Roger Holmes, the vice-chairman of Liskeard Town Forum, and a member of the town team, chaired the public meeting. He is also a town councillor and admitted there were some within the council who were less than pleased with the way the Portas bid had been handled.

"I have seldom enjoyed a public meeting more. The determination of the people to make their decisions free of arbitrary regulations was wonderful to experience," he said. "That four councillors walked out was disappointing. They clearly missed the strongly expressed mood of the meeting and appeared to have a problem in accepting new ways of doing things."

One of the councillors who left the meeting, Steve Barrett, said he had no option but to walk out after his and other people's concerns about voting rights were ignored.

"It was about the governance of the Portas town team, which is a sub-group of Liskeard Town Forum," he said.

"It was supposed to have been a Town Forum meeting, but everyone there was given a free vote, which shouldn't have been allowed.

"When we tried to put this point across and ask other questions, we were ignored, so there was no point in us being there," said Mr Barrett.

Town clerk Mr Deacon said he had written a formal letter of complaint to the Town Forum.

Local resident Sally Hawken, who led the successful Portas bid, and Mr Holmes, were this week in discussions with the television production company which wants to film in Liskeard.

Traders at the public meeting felt there was "no such thing as bad publicity" and the town would benefit from Mary Portas and her film crew coming to Liskeard.

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  • charlesboney  |  July 18 2012, 4:11PM

    Sad to see so much *****iness going on. As a local village resident (St Keyne and I don't hide my identity) I want my local market town to succeed, not tear itself apart. How exactly is the Portas money accounted for? All public money must always go through a body which is accountable and whose work is transparent. How is this working out? Can I observe any meeting where decisions are made - in the same way as I can observe a Council budget meeting? How doe the principles of of obtaining 'best value' and 'declaration of interest' work? And please no libelous comments in my direction.

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  • Karen362  |  July 14 2012, 1:31PM

    I wish Portass would get some of our councillors to throw in the towel! We'd have to bomb our lot out of office.....

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  • LonyTilly  |  July 11 2012, 2:14PM

    I am a complete outsider just reading the news. Councillor Barrett thinks a free vote is wrong ! Is this Cornwall, UK or Zimbabwe, Syria etc ??

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  • jimjams2011  |  July 09 2012, 6:38PM

    I think there should be a public apology perhaps even resignations. What good would a 'public campaign for entertainment' do if the local chamber are destroying our local business.

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  • stevepz  |  July 09 2012, 3:52PM

    LoL. They didn't know articles stay in the headline because of high activity. The deleting of peoples comments who express disgust at the councils walk out has backfire. Now the article has stayed on the front page long enough for everyone in the west country to read about it. For anyone just joining now a number of comments were posted by people criticizing the council. In a vain attempt to cover up their embarrassment someone has been reporting these comments and getting them removed. But this has just increased the activity level and kept the story on the front page. For anyone (like me) who did have their comment removed reposting your comment will continue to keep this as a headline. Much the the annoyance of the council

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  • TheodoreV  |  July 08 2012, 8:08PM

    Why is still "top story" after more than a week?

  • jimjams2011  |  July 08 2012, 7:11PM

    Shocking at the Councillor walking out. SHAME ON THEM!! IT doesn't matter where the money comes from, we all desperately need it and the 100k for a facelift of Liskard would be brilliant. The Councillor s have failed the town over the years which is why it has been in decline. Lower business rates, improve enterprise. As for Trina Dawe congratulating herself and her husband on the 'olympic torch' WHAT A COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY THAT IS FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

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  • stevepz  |  July 07 2012, 5:02PM

    Has anyone else noticed the removal of comments here that express disgust or disappointment at the walk out? The comments that implied that there was corruption, or were a slur against the council I can understand. But some people just stated that they thought it was childish and unprofessional and their comments got removed also. Who is doing this and how are they getting away with it? Talk about suppressing free speech.

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  • essamonkey  |  July 06 2012, 10:11AM

    FREE Parking in Saltash is back

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  • shagrats  |  July 05 2012, 1:42PM

    Speaking as a complete outsider and having no interest wetehr they do or don't get the money. I think that the councilors walked out should have a long hard think as to why they are a councilor in the first place. If you walked out because your overinflated ego's had been dented by the people you are actually supposed to represent then perhaps you should have a rethink as to waht you think you are doing in that job. You are not there to only follow petty beaurocratic rules to the letter, but you are there to act on the will of the people. I would have thought anyone would have embraced the chance for a bit of clarity, and all you have done is dirty the water with the "toys out of the pram" tantrum. But what do I know eh ! I couldn't really care less either way.