Ledbury Estate ‘crisis’ meeting rejection sparks row between Labour and Lib Dems

Owen Sheppard (31 August, 2017) Politics Housing

Lib Dem leader accuses mayor and Labour councillors of "closing ranks" over decision not to take Extraordinary Full Council meeting forward

17832The Ledbury Estate, off Old Kent Road

A row has broken out between Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors over whether the upheaval facing Ledbury Estate residents should be debated at an Extraordinary Meeting.

Lib Dem leader councillor Anood Al-Samerai last week requested an Extraordinary Full Council meeting be arranged in September. She said last week that the meeting should be used to hold the council’s Labour leadership to account over the “ongoing crisis” at the blocks.

But mayor Charlie Smith – who has an impartial role in deciding whether to schedule such meetings – has rejected the Lib Dems’ request. He told the News: “I’m suggesting what I thought would be a better alternative. If you had a Full Council meeting, each side would put forward a motion which would be debated, and it would for, and something might be referred over to the cabinet, and then they would probably send it to the Over view and Scrutiny Committee to look at.

“My idea is rather than go through all of that process we should go straight to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Because they actually have more power to call on local residents and experts to give evidence. That committee can be more forensic. And it would be quicker and easier to arrange, as they have a next meeting on September 11.”

Cllr Al-Samerai on Tuesday told the News: “I think this decision is shocking. A request like this has never been said no to before. This is absolutely just Labour trying to close ranks and stop this being debated.

“I believe this should be put to both committees. The reason we were calling for the Extraordinary Meeting is that this is a very extraordinary situation and I think the residents deserve for every councillor in this borough to hear what they are going through.”

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