Councillors met on the last Wednesday of July for their monthly full council meeting. Here's Greenwich.co.uk's somewhat-delayed report on what happened.
Meridian Music Centre closure
Following on from a previously submitted petition, council offers reported back on the closure of Greenwich Community College's Meridian Music Centre. The MMC is based at East Greenwich Library and currently has 87 students with 17 employees.
Steve Wreyford from the Safer Neighbourhood Panel in East Greenwich spoke from the public gallery against the closure, praising its role in providing "diversionary activities" for local youth and called upon the council to come up with a "bridging loan" to keep it going until a "big society bank" or social enterprise fund could provide further funding.
All three Labour councillors for the Peninsula ward in which the centre is based joined Mr Wreyford in support of the MMC.
Councillor Dick Quibell called the closure a "tragedy" and warned it was a "foretaste of what is to come".
Councillor Mary Mills said she was "very sorry to see them pulling out of East Greenwich Library" and Councillor Miranda Williams said she would be making representations about re-using the centre's audio equipment elsewhere.
Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Spencer Drury (Eltham North) said he was "concerned about the lack of clarity" from Greenwich Community College. He said that before attributing the closure to budget cuts, the GCC's "initial pitch [for closing] was poor exam results", and then they claimed "the building wasn't in good enough condition" despite it being "in the best condition it has been for many years".
Cllr Drury suggested that options be explored to move the facilities to Shooters Hill Over-16 Campus or The John Roan.
Cllr David Grant (Labour, Greenwich West) derided the claim in council officers' report that the music industry does "not have a skills shortage" and said it was a "misunderstanding of the nature of adult education" which should not be "limited to getting people jobs" , calling it "one of the less fortunate aspects of policy from the previous government".
Cllr Dermot Poston (Conservative, Eltham North) described it as a "tremendous mistake" for the council to have have handed over Greenwich Community College "twelve or so years ago" to what was then Woolwich College and spoke out against the loss of adult educational activities "for fun" which weren't linked to examinations.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Peter Brooks (Labour, Thamesmead Moorings) commented that "under normal circumstances I could have stood up here tonight and said 'I reckon we can sort that out for you'" but with the cuts the council is facing, he didn't know if he could.
The report by council officers stated that "Lewisham College offers the same provision" to which Cllr Harry Singh (Labour, Woolwich Common) curtly replied: "I don't think so". Drawing upon his own experience of the industry, he said he didn't think any college in the South East had such good facilities, adding that it would be a "sad loss if this goes out of the borough."
"Cutty Sark continues to make progress"
In a written question, Cllr Alex Wilson (Conservative, Blackheath Westcombe) asked for an update on the renewal of the Cutty Sark.
Cllr John Fahy (Labour, Woolwich Riverside), Cabinet member for Culture and the Olympics, replied:
"The renovation of the Cutty Sark continues to make good progress. Work is ongoing to refix hull planks on both sides of the ship."
The Cutty Sark is due to be lifted into place in October "with a view to reopening next year".
Greenwich Park and London 2012
In a written question, Cllr Geoff Brighty (Conservative, Blackheath Westcombe) asked Cllr Ray Walker, Chair of Planning, to confirm that LOCOG had not yet submitted a reinstatement plan or any mention financial guarantees, despite applying for partial approval of a Condition of their London 2012 planning application which required both those to be submitted.
Cllr Walker (Labour, Eltham West) replied that this was a "complex issue" and instead referred Cllr Brighty to the Council's Planning Officers.
Greenwich Conservatives put forward a motion calling for an end to the weekly production of the council's newspaper, Greenwich Time. The motion was defeated and councillors instead voted for an amendment praising the publication. See Greenwich.co.uk's report on the debate here and also check out Darryl's write up at 853.
Housing Delivery Vehicle
The council is proposing the creation of a new "arms length company that can own, manage and let mainly family homes below market rent". The proposal, which would see the council disposing of 28 family sized properties and providing the new "Housing Delivery Vehicle" with £50,000 start up costs, will require permission from the Secretary of State.
A spirit of bipartisanship descended upon the council chamber as the opposition voted in favour of the proposal and the Labour group accepted an amendment from the Conservative Group which would make the Housing Delivery Vehicle's lettings policy specifically prioritise families for the Company's homes.
There is no full council meeting in August so the next one will take place on the last Wednesday of September.