THE

Rossendale Free Press - - Spinning Point -

de­ci­sion to bor­row mil­lions to fund the next phase of the Spin­ning Point re­gen­er­a­tion was taken with more than one-third of the coun­cil miss­ing from the coun­cil cham­ber, it’s been re­vealed.

Coun­cil min­utes con­firm just two Rawten­stall coun­cil­lors – Pa­trick Mar­riott and Steve Hughes – at­tended the de­bate, with five of the town’s Labour coun­cil­lors send­ing apolo­gies ahead of the meet­ing, which also dis­cussed is­sues in­clud­ing the Lo­cal Plan and Rossendale Rail Link and lasted one hour and 45 min­utes.

The town’s eighth seat is cur­rently va­cant un­til next May – af­ter Con­ser­va­tive Janet Gra­ham stood down last month due to ill health.

Four Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lors also missed the meet­ing, while, ac­cord­ing to the min­utes, a fur­ther three Couns Jimmy and Janet Ea­ton and David Stans­field left the cham­ber be­fore a de­ci­sion was taken, leav­ing fewer than half of their con­tin­gent in the cham­ber.

It meant that of 36 coun­cil­lors elected to the cham­ber, just 23 were present when the de­ci­sion was taken.

Coun­cil leader Alyson Barnes said she was sat­is­fied that those who sent in apolo­gies had gen­uine rea­sons for ab­sence.

She also con­firmed that one of the meet­ing’s ab­sen­tees re­gen­er­a­tion con­sul­tant Andy MacNae, a prom­i­nent ad­vo­cate of the Spin­ning Point de­vel­op­ment, stood down from the cabi­net’s re­gen­er­a­tion brief last month due to out­side com­mit­ments.

Coun Sean Ser­ridge has re­placed him on the front bench, with a reshuf­fle see­ing Coun Alyson Barnes tak­ing on the re­gen­er­a­tion port­fo­lio.

Coun Barnes ad­mit­ted: “(Andy) has had a lot of work in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber and he knew that he was strug­gling.

“It is a prob­lem to be hon­est.

“Some of our best mem­bers are up to their back teeth with work.

“I’ve been pick­ing up quite a bit of that work. We work quite closely.”

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