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Julian Swift-Hook allowed back onto Greenham Control Tower Committee

New crop of councillors vote to reverse decision taken in 2016

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

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01635 886639

Greenham Parish Council accused of 'lack of transparency'

THE decision to ban Greenham Parish Council chairman Julian Swift-Hook from having a direct involvement in the control tower project has officially been reversed by fellow councillors.

Councillors originally voted to remove Mr Swift-Hook from the control tower committee in January 2016 after an independent audit revealed a series of serious failings in the council’s running of the project.

However, the last 12 months have seen sweeping changes in the make-up of the council – including the election of Mr Swift-Hook to council chairman in January – leading to a new crop of councillors voting emphatically to reverse the motion at a meeting last Wednesday.

As chairman, Mr Swift-Hook is automatically granted a place on each council committee as an ex-officio member, prompting long-standing councillor Gary Puffett to walk out of February’s committee meeting in protest. 

In an effort to draw a line under the issue, Paul Walter, who was elected to the council in December last year, put forward a motion to officially reverse the vote taken by members in January 2016. 

He argued Mr Swift-Hook had a “right and legal duty” to be directly involved in the control tower development.

He said: “To elect a chairman and assume they will have nothing to do with the control tower is like electing Theresa May as Prime Minister and not expecting her to have anything to do with Brexit.”

He added: “Five councillors voted in favour of the motion to remove Julian from the committee, but four have since left the council.”

Mr Puffett objected to the motion, but Mr Walter said the idea that Mr Swift-Hook would have a “hypnotic or Svengali-like effect” on other councillors was “ridiculous”.

Mr Puffett replied: “It’s nothing to do with a Svengali-like hold over other members, we are all free-thinking people.

“I stand by what I say regarding the motion that was passed in January 2016.

“It was taken for specific reasons, not because of any vendetta.

“It was based on facts which a brand new set of councillors are getting to grips with.”

Current control tower committee chairman Jon Gage added: “Looking forward, I want the best knowledge and skills regardless of history.

“I’m supportive of him [Mr Swift-Hook] being active on the control tower committee.”

Councillors voted in favour of the motion, with just Mr Puffett voting against. Vice chairman Chris Austin abstained from the vote.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Puffett said he was disappointed with the vote, but added he would look to see how the control tower project now progressed.

The council aims to have the iconic Greenham Control Tower converted into a visitor centre and café by the end of 2017.

More than £700,000 has so far been spent on the development, with the council currently in the process of securing a £150,000 loan.

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Article comments

  • Spikey71

    30/03/2017 - 09:09

    Why doesn't nwn get freedom of information on every penny that been spent on the tower. And what these councillors been putting into there own pockets. £700.000 p is a lot of money. We the public and community of west Berkshire want to know. And dr/ councillor meg thomas is a lair or doesn't have a clue what's going on. Jon gage is two faced,

    Reply

  • hgv1driver

    hgv1driver

    30/03/2017 - 07:07

    So angry get rid of the whole team there is too much been wasted on this project and now having Swift-Hook back its a absolute joke, your never gonna see a return on ALL this money spent what a complete mess

    Reply

  • GreenhamPete

    28/03/2017 - 22:10

    Disgusting! Swift-Hook is a big-ego'd apologist of a local politician who returns to once again hold substantial influence over this project, like the captain of the Titanic getting his old job back. He totally lacks any grace or shame, and after having got us into this mess and screwed the local ratepayers, he should simply do the decent thing, show some much needed humility and get out. Yet of course he won't as he's been voted in by his sycophantic Liberal colleagues, who have created their tiny power base, in our small but important community, for their own self serving, breast-beating purposes. Yet, ultimately we only have ourselves to blame by voting them in. A big thank you to Gary Puffett for standing out and having the courage to represent the majority of Greenham parishioners who have not forgotten the financial cost that we've inherited because of this lot, led by Swift-Hook.

    Reply

  • Spikey71

    28/03/2017 - 17:05

    His back on cos all his cronies friends are board members and members of greenham parish council, next election they all should oust out. They are lairs and don't care about nobody who voted for them or people of west Berkshire. How much money going to be wasted again by hook and his numpties councillors

    Reply

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