The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council has – yet again – invoked Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude members of the public and journalists from a special “Extra Ordinary” meeting of the council held last night.
The agenda for the meeting – which is supposed to be publicly available beforehand – was was heavily redacted and excluded multiple pages of documents printed on yellow paper which were distributed only to councillors.
Both the Penarth Times and Penarth Daily News were required to leave the meeting for a period of 40 minutes whilst a debate was held in the council chamber.
One PDN source says the long-term financial position of the council, the Paget Rooms, the Kymin and plans to increase this year’s Penarth Town Precept (to be loaded onto the overall Council Tax paid by Penarth residents) were discussed, but PDN has not yet been to confirm this and has not been allowed access to the council papers.
This is by no means the first time the secretive council has ejected journalists from its meetings. Last year, the press and public were also barred from attending part of the December 6th meeting of Penarth Town Council or see the relevant council reports – and again the same restrictive legislation was invoked to “justify” the exclusion.
The agenda of last night’s Penarth Council meeting would normally have included the minutes of that December 6th Penarth Council meeting which were to be “signed off” at last night’s meeting. However a large section of the minutes of that December meeting – covering the section of the meeting from which reporters had been excluded – was missing.