No confidence vote called for by Labour

COUNCILLORS have been asked to deliver a vote of no confidence in one of their number following the recent consultation over the future of Tilgate Park.

Crawley Labour councillors Peter Lamb and David Shreeves have included a Notice of Motion in the agenda for a meeting of the full council at the town hall tonight (Wednesday February 29), criticising the actions of Tory Cllr Lenny Walker, Cabinet member for leisure and cultural services.

The Notice follows an announcement earlier this month that the management of Tilgate Nature Centre would remain with Crawley Borough Council, while local firm Dynamic Adventures would take over activities at Tilgate Lake.

The announcement followed a nine-month options appraisal during which expressions of interest had been called for to manage not only the lake but the Nature Centre, Walled Garden and cafe.

A previous appraisal was produced by MAX Associates in 2010. It included suggestions that the running of the Park should remain in-house – as was finally agreed when it came to the running of the Nature Centre.

Cllrs Lamb and Shreeves claim Cllr Walker ignored the initial advice at a cost of £30,000 in officer time and other expenses and that he also ignored concerns raised by members of the public and his fellow councillors about the commercialisation of the Park.

Cllr Lamb said: “Cllr Walker has pushed through this failed policy against the recommendations of the public, fellow councillors, officers and outside experts.

“By ignoring any opinions other than his own he has incurred £30,000 worth of costs in officer time and other expenses and has lost the confidence of other members.

“It should also be noted that under the council’s new model (the stong leader model) Cllr Lanzer bears full responsibility for the hiring and firing of cabinet members. His failure to remove Cllr Walker from this role poses serious questions about his leadership.”

Crawley Borough Council spent approximately £9,500 on a public consultation to find out what people wanted for the Park but Cllr Lamb’s figures include 880 staff hours at a cost of £20,500.

Cllr Walker said: “I was surprised to hear about this and I can’t understand it. I’ve done nothing but what was agreed by the council. This has all gone through the Cabinet and the full council and was voted on by members.”

The meeting of the full council will be held tonight (Wednesday February 29) at the town hall at 7.30pm. All are welcome to attend.