A MOTION has been submitted by the opposition party to raise questions regarding secrecy in many meetings of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

The Labour Group submitted the motion to the full council meeting on Thursday, October 14, to question the “secret meetings” which do not show up on the Council's Calendar of meetings and do not have minutes published.

Speaking to the Gazette about the issue, Labour leader Cllr Andrew McCormick said his party want all councillors to affirm their commitment to openness in local government

“We want an end to the secrecy surrounding Members Advisory Panels (MAP) and the suspicion this generates in the minds of the public.

“Therefore we are submitting a motion to the full council meeting on Thursday, October 14.

“This work is already part of an ongoing constitutional review, but we want all councillors to affirm their commitment to openness in local government.”

The MAPs currently in operation are Climate Emergency, Local Plan Update Environmental Policies, Town Centre, Local Plan Update Supporting the Economy, Local Plan Update Gypsy and Travellers, Local Plan Update Urban Environment, Basing View and West Ham Leisure Park.

The motion submitted before the full council meeting reads: “There is considerable unease amongst our residents that many of our key issues, such as the future of the town centre, leisure park, planning policies, and the Climate Emergency, are being discussed behind closed doors.

“That, while we have a constitutional review underway, the public deserves answers now as to how their money is being spent, what is being done to bounce back after the pandemic, and what a future Basingstoke is supposed to look like.

“This council resolves to make each Members Advisory Panel public, with published minutes/meeting outcome records, with their dates published in the council calendar of meetings.

“[This council resolves] To refer the issue of public participation at future MAPs to the Constitutional Working Group.”