Fellow blogger ames Barlow has just broken the news that Councillor Ashley Fox will be asking questions at the next full council meeting on December 2nd about the so-called Red Trousergate affair involving Squarepeg architect George Ferguson and Strategic Director of City Development David Bishop. Please check Jame's blog for more details - those key questions copied below.
Questions from Councillor Ashley Fox to Councillor Rosalie Walker, Cabinet Member for Culture and Healthy Communities.
Q1. Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that the Council should always consult with local residents before agreeing to the sale or lease of precious green space?
Q2 Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that the Council's recent sale of parts of the embankment of the Bristol-Bath Railway Path threatens to damage the character of one of the country's finest cycling routes in an Authority now designated a "Cycling City"?
Q3 Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that the apparent informal and unrecorded manner in which this property sale was transacted could leave the Council open to accusations of impropriety or favouritism?
Questions from Councillor Ashley Fox to Councillor John Bees, Cabinet Member for Transformation & Resources at the next meeting of Full Council, Tuesday, 2nd December 2008
Q1. Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that all decisions and meetings relating to the sale or disposal of land held by the Council should be open, properly recorded and fully transparent?
Q2 Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that the apparent manner in which the recent sale of parts of the embankment of the Bristol-Bath Railway Path was transacted warrants further investigation?
Q3. Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that it is important to ascertain the reason for conducting aspects of this transaction without a formal record or minutes taken at key meetings held?
Q4. Will the Cabinet Member undertake to remind all Officers engaged in the disposal of Council-owned assets of the importance of the principle of Integrity (within the Code of Conduct for Employees) that "holders of public office must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties"?
Up to now the so-called local media were refusing to publish this story, although we know for a fact that there was interest in it. That didn't surprise anyone because the two individuals involved have very high public profiles, are well connected and wield considerable influence.
But thankfully one Conservative councillor, Ashley Fox, has recognised that there are issues of fundamental importance here which must be addressed. It is difficult to see how the media can continue to keep the lid on this story when a respected local councillor has tabled questions to the Full Council meeting due in two and a half weeks time.