A private tenant on the Central Hill estate, Crystal Palace was banned by Lambeth council leader Cllr Lib Peck from speaking at the cabinet meeting which controversially voted to demolish the estate.
In an email from a council officer Pete Elliott, who stood as Green party candidate in the by-election for the area in June 2016, was told:
“Cllr Peck has decided not to allow you to speak at the meeting of cabinet on the Central Hill item. “She has been informed that you are not a Lambeth registered tenant or leaseholder living on Central Hill estate.”
Pete Elliott told News From Crystal Palace: “At this point I had been voted in as deputy chairman of the residents association, and the council knew that I was registered to vote at my current address.
“As a resident of the Central Hill estate I should have been given the opportunity to speak at the cabinet meeting.
“Lambeth council knew full well that I was registered with them on the estate and that I had been democratically voted onto the residents association’s committee.
“I would have spoken up for private tenants and those people who are living near to the estate who will undoubtedly be affected by more than a decade of building works, these groups were represented by no-one.
“Time was not the issue here, the three speakers opposing the demolition were only given three minutes each to speak to save their homes and community.
“Cllr Luke Murphy (Labour candidate who won the by-election – Ed.) was allowed three minutes to speak at the meeting. BOLD “Despite being a ward councillor he was representing and speaking for no-one on the estate.
“I had prepared a speech and requested in good time that I could speak at the meeting. “I would have spoken up for private tenants and people in the wider neighbourhood who will be blighted by years of building works in the Crystal Palace / Gipsy Hill area.”
The officer’s email reads as follows:
We have received more requests to speak than usual and would like to prioritise groups that are directly affected as well as giving cabinet ample time to fully consider the oral submissions and proposals in the report. The chair, Cllr Peck has decided not to allow you to speak at the meeting of cabinet on the Central Hill item, she has been informed that you are not a Lambeth registered tenant or leaseholder living on Central Hill estate. Ultimately speaking priority is at the chair’s discretion and the chair will also determine the number of speakers to be heard on the same issue.
If you feel your circumstances have been misrepresented please let me know which property affected by this decision you are registered at, or why you feel your submissions should be given priority over Lambeth registered tenants or leaseholders living on the estate affected and cabinet members.
Wayne Chandai, Democratic Services Manager, Corporate Resources Directorate
News From Crystal Palace asked Cllr Peck – and Lambeth’s press office – for a response – AND GOT ONE!:
A Lambeth council press office spokesman told News From Crystal Palace: “The meeting in March last year had a number of speaking slots for local residents, and these were allocated to residents who lived on the estate and were directly affected by the decision.
“The cabinet therefore heard from three members of the Central Hill Residents Association, along with another resident. Gipsy Hill ward councillor, Luke Murphy – who represents the area – and Cllr Tim Briggs, the leader of the opposition, also spoke at the meeting.
“The recommendations to cabinet came after extensive consultation with all estate residents, including private tenants. “Their views were included in a report to the meeting and were carefully considered before a decision was made.
“Mr Elliott was allocated a speaking slot when the cabinet decision was subsequently considered by the overview and scrutiny committee on May 3 last year.
“NOTE: The agenda and minutes of the cabinet meeting, held in March 2017, are available here: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=225&MID=9757 “