Controversial £2m car park defended as bid to delay it is defeated
- Credit: Icarus Consulting Ltd
A controversial move to spend almost £2m on a car park at Norfolk County Council’s County Hall headquarters has been defended by Conservative county councillors.
The council also refused to back motions over support for a campaign to provide more free school meals to children or to reconsider an increase in council allowances.
Norfolk County Council’s full council met on Monday, where a number of motions were tabled by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Independent group.
One of Labour’s motions was around the decision to spend £1.9m on a new car park at County Hall. That had sparked opposition and the motion called on the council to put it on ice.
Labour county councillor Brenda Jones said the council should delay the work because coronavirus has changed how people work.
But Greg Peck, Conservative cabinet member for property, said the closure of other council offices meant a need for more spaces at County Hall.
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He said the number of desks would be increase from 1,929 desks to 2,325 and staff, such as social workers, would need access to vehicles to do their jobs.
The motion was lost, as was another from Labour calling on the council to back a campaign to make more children eligible for free school meals and to extend schemes to school holidays.
Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, said Labour were “financially illiterate” and he could not support a campaign calling for the distribution of public money without an assessment of costs.
Another Labour motion, calling for a 2.75pc increase in councillor allowances to be reversed was also lost. Leader Andrew Proctor said many councillors had decided not to take the increase and it was a matter for individuals.
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Liberal Democrat motions over more money for public health and to back the Local Electricity Bill were withdrawn after the Conservatives tabled amendments.
A motion by the Independent group for a strategy to protect rural buses was also lost, with the Conservatives saying one already existed.
And a motion over building in areas liable to flooding, from independent Alexandra Kemp was also defeated, with Conservatives saying there were already processes to stop that happening.