Act V – Agenda pack for Wed 24 June reveals fundamental change

The Development Management Committee will revert to its original title of Planning Committee. A few words but highly significant (though Owl has been reporting that “three homes” Jenrick is plotting to reduce further local authority planning controls).

Eileen Wragg (deputy Leader) and Sarah Chamberlain have been nominated as Planning Chair/Vice Chair. Both are LibDem members of the Democratic Alliance and Eileen is a very experienced councillor.

Next to the cabinet, the real power in the council lies in the business conducted by a handful of committees. So who chairs these and the balance of parties within them is critically important. It was Ben Ingham’s generosity to the Conservatives in appointments to the (then) Development Management Committee and Strategic Planning Committee that allowed him to govern with Conservative support, indeed with their “admiration”, but without having to have them in the Cabinet.

Dan Ledger and Olly Davey have been nominated as Chair/Vice Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Dan come from the EDA wing of the Democratic Alliance (and must one of the younger members of the council), Olly is a Green.

Independent Progressives not only have a number of Cabinet posts but also feature in committee posts.

Cranbrook Voice also have a “voice”.

Colin Brown, Conservative, has been nominated as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, theirs by right as the official Opposition party (and Owl expects to see a renewed enthusiasm for scrutiny from the previously dismissive Tories). Val Ranger, Council Vice Chairman, has been nominated as Vice Chair.

Owl is preparing a more detailed briefing on how power has shifted within EDDC’s committees and highlight other changes. Unfortunately, the tables in the agenda pack don’t easily copy and paste onto a web page, there is also a need to annotate and simplify these to show post holder affiliations within the now quite complex power structure in the Council. So more to come.


Owl’s Verdict: the new administration has hit the ground running and signalling real change.