John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

Smalley Place, Kenilworth

by John Whitehouse on 10 May, 2008

Smalley Place, Kenilworth 

The local press ran a lead story a week ago quoting Cllr. Norman Vincett, the leader of the Conservative-controlled town council, saying that plans for a  “showpiece” civic centre at Smalley Place in Kenilworth were in trouble. This was confirmed at the Town Assembly on Thursday evening, when Cllr. Vincett admitted that current plans were financially unacceptable and unaffordable, but that work was continuing although no timescales could be promised.

I find it unacceptable to hear such news via the press, when I am a member of a joint Steering Group of county, district and town councillors that is supposed to be co-ordinating efforts to secure this prize for the people of Kenilworth. Until last May, under the then Lib Dem/Labour administration, a senior District Council officer was driving the project hard and keeping everyone regularly informed of progress. Since the Conservatives won the District Council, project leadership has effectively transferred to the County Council (also Tory controlled), but all sense of urgency and real commitment seems to have disappeared, while non-Tory members of the joint Steering Group have been kept largely in the dark.

The Lib Dem group here in Kenilworth has been forced to go on the attack, accusing the ruling Conservatives of letting down local residents by not being prepared to put up any “new” money to make this showpiece a reality – despite having moaned for years when they were in opposition on the District Council that Kenilworth “did not get its fair share”!

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