The Development of Newbridge Town Hall
While I am delighted at the allocation of €400,000 last year to refurbish Newbridge Town Hall ( see pictures of the interior now being revealed inch by glorious inch ) the veil of secrecy around its development is unacceptable to me both as a public representative and as a tax-payer .
Since the announcement of the funding , KCC agreed that the role and function of the Town Hall would be put to public consultation and a copy of the plans was circulated to Newbridge Community Development. At a recent ‘in committee’ meeting however, between Cllrs and officials, to discuss the Town Hall, I was denied permission to take a photo of the plans or to take a copy of the plans with me
As soon as I attempted to take a photo of the plans of the Town Hall, Cllrs Doyle, Kennedy and O Loughlin forcefully insisted that the plans or an image of the plans could not be taken from the meeting. Despite the fact I repeatedly informed those present that the plans were already in the public domain the officials then followed suit. They denied me permission to take a copy of the plans on the flimsy grounds of ‘copyright’. It is appalling that three long-standing Cllrs and not the officials, were the key drivers in making sure that the plans would not make it into the public domain.
Shortly after the ‘in committee’ meeting (see yesterday’s post re in committee meetings) I emailed the Council stating what had transpired at the meeting and asked for clarification of the situation regarding the plans. I again confirmed to all that had been present at the meeting that the plans were already in the public domain. In response my fellow Cllrs and I were forwarded a copy of the plans with a request not to circulate or distribute.
So then I had the farcical situation that Cllrs had the plans for their own perusal but were restricted from discussing them with anyone, including those who already had the plans-an absolute nonsense. When I pointed this out to officials, the restriction was reduced to not using the plans for ‘commercial uses’.
This obsession with keeping the plans secret was completely at odds with the previous agreement to consult with the public around possible uses of the Town Hall.
My concerns about the veil of secrecy around the development of the Town Hall doesn’t end there.
The cost and funding of the Town Hall and the lack of progress and clarity around the setting up of it’s management structure all lack transparency. And I shall post details about this later