Former Cabinet member who has “never been a pleb or a councillor on the backbenches” gives a boost to committees bid

Visiting a Fenland wind turbine: Cllr Kit Owen leads the way out from one of the turbines at Burnthouse Farm Turves. Councillors  Jan French and Alex Miscandlon also exit the turbine door. Visiting a Fenland wind turbine: Cllr Kit Owen leads the way out from one of the turbines at Burnthouse Farm Turves. Councillors Jan French and Alex Miscandlon also exit the turbine door.

Saturday, July 26, 2014
12:09 AM

Supporters of abandoning the cabinet system at Fenland Hall in favour of committees won unexpected support from a councillor forced from office for alleged misuse of a council computer.

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Getting to grips with green issues: Cllr Kit Owen (left) on a visit to Burnthouse  Wind Turbines. Also in the photo are ouncillors Kit Owen and Alex Miscandlon at the turbine door.Getting to grips with green issues: Cllr Kit Owen (left) on a visit to Burnthouse Wind Turbines. Also in the photo are ouncillors Kit Owen and Alex Miscandlon at the turbine door.

Kit Owen, a councillor for over 30 years and mayor of March, told last Thursday’s meeting of Fenland Council they were about to pass a 40 page report on planning which he had not had time to study.

“This is a classic example of the reason this council needs to look at, and give due consideration to, the structure that exists for cabinet rule,” he said.

“When I was on cabinet- I have been on cabinet until 18 months ago and have never been a pleb or a councillor on the backbenches. What I am trying to say is that this passed me by.”

The document- guidelines for developers on green energy and climate change initiatives – was issued in January for consultation but Cllr Owen said he only knew of it recently.

The report was presented by the cabinet member for planning Will Sutton who said it had also been sent out in June for re-consultation.

“I am a bit concerned about things being brought up at this stage,” said Cllr Sutton. “On two occasions members have been notified about it – what more do you want. You’ve got the stuff in front of you if you decide to read it. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

He said planners, developers and agents had all fed into the document – which suggests a points system for green initiatives – “and most recently it went to the agents’ forum. If they weren’t happy with it believe you me they would be screaming the place down.”

Councillor Gavin Booth supported an amendment by Cllr Owen to defer the report but it was thrown out and the proposals passed.

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