Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL) – the not for profit “charity” which holds the lease of Penarth Pier Pavilion – turned-down a proposed meeting with Penarth Town Council because the Mayor – Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) allegedly only wanted Labour councillors to be present .
This allegation has come in a public statement issued by PACL which appears to refute the version of events given to Penarth Town Council by Cllr Cuddy on April 13th 2017.
As Mayor, Cllr Cuddy was chairing the council meeting and had been responding to a question from Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell – but who is now standing for Plymouth Ward) . [Cllr Courtney, who is a finance-industry executive by profession, has intimate knowledge of the affairs of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd, having been the Mayor’s predecessor as the Town Council’s nominee on the board of the company up until his abrupt resignation in 2015 ]
In a preface to his question to the Mayor, Cllr Courtney reminded members that on March 29th the council’s Policy & Finance Committee had unanimously passed “a resolution concerning PACL” * .
Cllr Courtney said “I understand there was a follow-up to that [resolution] which involves an approach to the trustees” [ i.e. the Directors of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd]. Cllr Courtney asked the Mayor whether there had been a response from the Trustees?
The Mayor, Cllr Cuddy, said “There has been no formal response from PACL. They have thoughts they would produce a statement and I am informed that they will be making a statement shortly but are waiting for a few issues to be resolved” .
In a supplementary question Cllr Courtney then pressed for further information . He asked the Mayor “ So it would be incorrect on my part to assume that an approach which sought a meeting with the trustees of PACL was rejected?”
The Mayor said “Yes – they – or the chair [of PACL] thought it would be inappropriate at this time for there to be any meeting with any particular group.”
Cllr Courtney noted icily “At least there is consistency from PACL – with rejection of overtures from all quarters”.
Now however, the Mayor of Penarth’s version of events – as related to Penarth Council in a full council meeting – has been directly challenged by Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd.
In a public statement Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd says “We wish to make it clear that this [i.e. the Mayor’s statement made to Penarth Town Council] is totally inaccurate. On 7th April we received a request from Cllr Cuddy to meet Labour members of the Town Council.” [PDN underscore]
“As a registered charity PACL must remain totally non-political. We therefore replied that it would be inappropriate for us to meet with councillors from one particular political party, particularly in the context of the forthcoming council elections.”
[PDN Note: * The original resolution on the Pier Pavilion passed by Penarth Town Council’s Policy and Finance Meeting on March 29th 2017 had been an anodyne message of support and had not gone as far as to specify which councillors should attend any meeting with PACL. The motion had been carried unanimously by all councillors present – including Conservatives and an Independent ]
“We did add that we hoped to be in a position to report publicly on the progress made on our plans for the long-term future of the Pavilion in the near future and that we would be happy for that information to be shared by candidates from all political parties.”
“On 10th April we received a reply from the Council Leader [ i.e. the Mayor, Cllr Mike Cuddy] to say that he understood our position. It is therefore most disappointing that other Labour councillors chose, for whatever reason, to make the totally misleading claim subsequently reported by PDN.”
[PDN Note: For the record PDN stands by its reportage of the council meeting and no one has disputed the accuracy of the comments quoted.]