THIS time last week I was just back from a county council cabinet meeting at County Hall, Kendal. Dead behind the eyes from the Labour-Lib Dem love-in. Try as I might, I still can’t summon up any enthusiasm for writing about it.
DANGERPETE Tuesday 13th March. Mid-March in Cumbria. Freezing outside but a sweatbox in the glass-fronted "Community Room" at Penrith Fire Station, high above Kemplay Bank roundabout. Welcome to a PFI-funded greenhouse complete with a wobbly Press Table. Tepid coffee but distant views of the far-off Keswick peaks capped in snow. Cumbria’s police & crime commissioner is … Continue reading Sketch: Cumbria Police & Crime Panel
SURLY MOSS To Murley Moss then. A.k.a Murley Mess. The Joke Factory. The drab headquarters of the Lake District National Park Authority. From the outside, it looks like a mental health unit and on the inside, it has all the Joie de Vivre of the Dignitas departure lounge. Architecturally, it is the most uninspiring public … Continue reading Sketch: Lake District Planning Meeting
By god I might just be mistaken or this could be the best-drilled, cross-party committee I’ve come across on my travels. Eden Local Committee last Tuesday. A barnstormer of efficiency. No petty national mudslinging or point-scoring, it was a model of getting down to council business. At the end, they even gave away a load … Continue reading The Sketch: Eden Local Committee
HIGH NOON IN PENRITH High noon in Penrith. The distant siren of a police car somewhere on the M6. In the high street, a beat-up blue tractor rumbles by, depositing two tyre tracks of fresh cow muck. It proper catches the back of your throat. I tie up my horse outside The George Hotel and bod … Continue reading Sketch: Cumbria Police & Crime Panel
MAYORY ROBINSON Mary Robinson might just turn out to be the best Mayor that Cumbria County Council never had. She was in action on Thursday night, chairing Eden District Council. Mary is short-haired, slight of stature and a no nonsense woman. Rifling through the 18-item agenda with a haste that left the room spinning. Arriving for … Continue reading The Sketch: Eden District Council
MIDSUMMER MURDER CUMBRIA, JUNE 30th, 2017: It was a hot summer's day at the County Hall in Kendal on Thursday. A jackets off, two notebooks, back-to-back epic. For starters, an AGM with a million items on the agenda followed by a main course of Full Council. All served up as the hours ticked away until … Continue reading Sketch: Cumbria County Council
CUMBRIA, 6th June 2017: These are dull times to be working the council beat.
JAMMY DODGERS So it was the ‘last day of school’ on Thursday as councillors gathered for the final Cumbria County Council meeting of their four year term. Similar to ceasefires at Christmas, the last get together of all 84 councillors before the May elections tends to see swords kept in scabbards and an atmosphere of … Continue reading The Sketch 2: Cumbria County Council
THIS is a year of change for Cumbria County Council. Its purpose-built HQ, situated next door to The Samaritans in Carlisle, is filling up, the new chief executive starts in March and a new council takes over in May. All 84 seats are up for election. Don’t Betton It Robert Betton, a compact Independent councillor … Continue reading The Sketch: Cumbria County Council