Uproar could see council do u-turn

w3838a819 Pub of the Year 2008 - The Windsurfer.
w3838a819 Pub of the Year 2008 - The Windsurfer.

HEMSWORTH town councillors could back down over a decision to fill its committees with Labour members due to public outrage.

At the annual council meeting earlier this month, all nine Labour councillors were voted onto the policy, finance and leisure and recreation committees with just two independent councillors gaining a place - Coun Stan Wilson on finance and Coun Peter Hardacre on leisure and recreation.

The selection caused outrage among the majority of residents at the meeting.

But at the annual town meeting on Thursday, vice-chairman Coun Sandra Pickin said the decision would be referred back to the next full council meeting for members to take another look at.

Coun Pickin was standing in for new chairman Coun Tony Upson, who sent his apologies to the town meeting.

Residents also expressed their opinions on the former Windsurfer public house at Hemsworth Water Park, with 29 people voting to re-open it as a pub and 16 voting to go ahead with plans to turn it into a cafe with a children’s soft play area.

Those who voted to re-open it as a pub also wanted the building to be franchised out rather than opened by the town council.

The vote was called for by Ted Barratt, of Fieldside Road, Kinsley, who criticised the council when the decision was first made to close the pub down in February 2009.

He said: “We have waited two and a half years for the Windsurfer to be opened.

“You should franchise it out and make money for our community.”

A similar vote was taken at last year’s meeting and some people questioned why nothing seemed to have been done since.

Town clerk Tina Pattison told them: “During the first year the Windsurfer was closed we asked people to come along to look at franchising it. People didn’t want it. We decided that was enough and decided to get consultants in and we put it out to tender.

“The costs were too high so we sent it back out at a lower specification and those tenders opened last week. It is up to the town councillors how they will deal with it.

“We have taken on board what the people want to say and that will now go back to the town council to say you are not happy with what is going on and we need to address that.

“I don’t get a vote - the councillors will decide what happens. But we are not ignoring you.”