A council decision to go ahead and spend £25,000 on improving disabled facilities at a Moorlands leisure centre has been ‘called-in’ by community leaders. Earlier this month Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, councillor Mike Bowen, approved – through a ‘delegated decision’ - a proposal to spend £25,000 to help provide a special facility to allow disabled users to access and use the facilities at South Moorlands Leisure Centre in Cheadle.
A council decision to go ahead and spend £25,000 on improving disabled facilities at a Moorlands leisure centre has been ‘called-in’ by community leaders.
Earlier this month Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, councillor Mike Bowen, approved – through a ‘delegated decision’ – a proposal to spend £25,000 to help provide a special facility to allow disabled users to access and use the facilities at South Moorlands Leisure Centre in Cheadle.
The funds for the ‘Changing Places’ facility are set to come from a SMDC pot of cash named as discretionary Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG).
However, six members of SMDC have now ‘called-in’ the decision due to a number of concerns including the lack of: consultation, openness regarding development plans, value for money scrutiny, and a wider look at such facilities across the district.
The councillors who have called in the decision are: C Atkins, L Swindlehurst, K Hoptroff, M Gledhill, N Yates and B Cawley.
In a report to the Community Overview & Scrutiny Panel, which is set to meet to discuss the ‘call-in’ on Monday (February 1), a spokesman for the council stated: “The call-in request confirmed the following principles of decision making which they believed had not been adhered to: taking due regard of all relevant considerations and disregarding irrelevant considerations; respect for human rights and equalities; a presumption in favour of openness; and clarity of aims and desired outcomes.
“Councillors have detailed their concerns as: -1) Although we fully support the use of Discretionary Disabled Facilities Grants to provide much needed Changing Places Facilities within Staffordshire Moorlands, the lack of consultation, clear aims and openness over the plans for the development of Cheadle town centre raise doubts over whether it is appropriate to allocate such funding to South Moorlands Leisure Centre as its future is now uncertain. 2) The cost of providing the Changing Places Facility at over £29,000 needs to be properly scrutinised before such payments are sanctioned to demonstrate that this is ‘excellent value for money’ as stated. 3) If equalities are to be properly respected, all relevant sites within Staffordshire Moorlands should be assessed for the provision of such vital Changing Places Facilities to ensure their maximum use and accessibility. This requires a strategic assessment taking on board all relevant considerations rather than just accepting a single bid.”
Anyone wishing to view Community Overview & Scrutiny Panel meeting on Monday, can find the meeting link on the SMDC website. Councillors will debate and decide whether the call in should, or should not be upheld. If it is upheld, then the decision on the £25,000 funding will be sent back to the portfolio holder for reconsideration.
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