Press re­lease shows County Hall have learned their les­son

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Three-year Conversion To Led Bulbs -

KENT County Coun­cil got it­self into a bit of a mess over its street­light switch-off but has – at last – man­aged to draw a line with fi­nal con­fir­ma­tion it will now em­bark on a three­year plan to con­vert all 118,000 street­lights to LED.

Af­ter com­plaints its con­sul­ta­tion on the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion left rather a lot to be de­sired, KCC left noth­ing to chance the se­cond time of ask­ing.

Or, as the of­fi­cial press state­ment put it “de­lib­er­a­tive groups were fa­cil­i­tated.” Quite.

OFF The Record has sat through enough bud­get meet­ings to know they are not the most com­pelling de­bates.

How­ever, a new low was reached this year in what was ar­guably one of the most turgid meet­ings, with pre­cious lit­tle by way of drama.

In fact, the meet­ing re­ally only came to life right at the end when coun­cil­lors had one of those sur­real dis­cus­sions about how dread­ful it had been.

On that, there was a rare mo­ment of political con­sen­sus.

STILL, there were one or two lighter mo­ments to punc­ture the gen­eral gloom.

Ukip coun­cil­lor Hod Birkby re­galed the meet­ing with an anec­dote about how he had been di­ag­nosed as clin­i­cally obese by a “huge nurse who told me to keep my weight down but could hardly get in her chair”.

MEAN­WHILE, Con­ser­va­tive at­tack dog, Cllr Jeremy Kite, con­sol­i­dated his rep­u­ta­tion as chief tor­menter of the Ukip op­po­si­tion group.

Re­ply­ing to a call by the party to close a res­i­den­tial youth cen­tre owned by KCC in France, he trig­gered much mirth among back­benchers when he de­clared it should be kept open as Ukip would soon need “a refuge of its own” and a “place where the elec­torate can­not find them”.

Maybe you had to be there…

‘In fact, the meet­ing re­ally only came to life right at the end when coun­cil­lors had one of those sur­real dis­cus­sions about how dread­ful it had been’

PER­HAPS the only thing coun­cil­lors could be grate­ful for was that they were spared from watch­ing an­other of chair­man Mike Har­risons’s video pack­ages that re­veal what he has been up to in ful­fill­ing his civic du­ties.

It was left to Labour group leader, Cllr Gor­don Cowan, to broach the is­sue, ar­gu­ing diplo­mat­i­cally that so im­por­tant was the im­pend­ing de­bate on the bud­get that per­haps they could skip the video.

Mr Har­ri­son then suf­fered the ig­nomy of putting this to a vote and find­ing no-one wanted to see his film.

Still, we reckon he will get his way when he rounds off his year as chair­man in May.

FOL­LOW Paul on Twit­ter @ PaulOnPol­i­tics

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