And why did we buy this?

The other day, I as a Member of Cornwall Council received a press release before its sent out to the various news agencies. It was about the Tate Museum in St. Ives, and how Cornwall Council had brought a piece of land from a Housing Authority.

It was claimed that this was a great idea as the Tate contributes to the Cornish Economy some £15 million.  I was a little surprised to find out that this strip of land cost in the region of £1.5 million. I as a regular Member of the Council (non-Cabinet) was not consulted over the merits of spending this amount of money in the present climate.  In fact, I don’t even remember it being discussed at any recent Cabinet meeting (I could have missed the item).

The question I keep asking myself is why as a Member of Cornwall Council have no say, nor input on how large amounts of money are spent.  Sure this money might be a great investment, but decision like this should have at least been discussed by the full Council.  Are just 10 Members making all the decision for some 540,000 people?

Is this an essential purchase for Cornwall Council to make considering all the cuts being handed down by central Govt?  Would this £1.5 million be better invested else where? I can think of a few certain roads that could do with this money.  I mean if the roads are bad, then how will people be able to travel to this and other museums?   You do have to wonder sometimes.


  • PNJ@'druth

    That sounds like a sensible question for you to ask.

    Without knowing the cost/benefit facts, it's impossible of course to comment on the validity of the answer… but you'd do well to ask it.

    Even if it's a part of the cabinet's policy (e.g. if 'Selling Cornwall' is top bullet point in a development plan) to spend in such ways, if you disagree then you'll be speaking up for all those voters whose resources are being spent against their will. Good for you if so !

    In the meantime, if there are sufficient councillors, also disenfranchised and who have no hope of, or interest in, elevation to the junta, perhaps you and your colleagues ought to get together a cross-party caucus and look into changing the CC constitution into something more democratic – increasing consultation among members, and indeed the public.

    And while you're at it: (1) more modest and transparent remuneration of senior CC staff, and (2) regular public referenda on public spending (such as this case) would be fitty. I know a little of CC so I'm not hopeful – but if "wondering sometimes" leads you to work on fixing the cause of such folly, and not just the symptoms, then guzzon and good luck.

  • Anonymous

    Because they are the council of the grand gesture not the council of service delivery!

  • Amanda

    Wow…£1.5 million huh?!
    Thats a lot of money to be spent on one strip of land. Seems a shame when others have to fight so hard to fundraise for their community to improve certain areas and then the CC decide to make a huge investment like this in to a piece of land!
    Its a good job some areas have good Coucillors like you otherwise we would be fighting a hell of a lot harder for what we need.

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