A series of questions asked at a Luton Council meeting this week (Tuesday 22nd January 2008) provide all the evidence you need. Labour Executive Councillor Worlding, in charge of The Environment, Parks & Green Spaces, Traffic, Road Safety and Waste Management hasn’t got a clue what is going on in the departments for which he is responsible.
At the same time as councillor Worlding’s Parks department was spending Council Tax money preparing an allotment site for use by local residents who want to grow their own fruit and vegetables, another department was getting on with plans to build 20 houses on the land. Liberal Democrat leader, David Franks, was trying to get councillor Worlding to explain why he allowed the site to be included in the potential house building programme if he knew the 20 allotment plots were already over-subscribed with 22 applicants.
“I asked him to explain why he allowed this allotment site to go on the list of potential house building sites when the department for which he is responsible was spending council tax money on preparing the site for growing fruit & veg,” said Liberal Democrat councillor David Franks.
“It became more and more clear as I questioned him that he really did not know the allotments were being prepared for letting and neither did he know the site was on the house building list.”
“He had no answers at all. Surely as a member with Executive responsibilities, for which he is paid, people who pay their Council Tax in Luton are entitled to expect that he will know what is going on in his own departments. How much of a grip does he have on the departments for which he is responsible when he clearly has no idea what they are doing?”
“He is supposed to be one of the small team actually running the council. How can he expect people to have confidence in his ability to keep control when he can’t even keep tabs on a simple allotments programme?”
The Questions were asked at the meeting of the full Council on Tuesday evening, 22nd January. Under the Council’s standing orders advance notice has to be given for questions. When Labour members became aware that councillor Franks had given notice of his question, Hart Hill Lane allotments site was ‘temporarily removed’ from the house building sites list.