Sandown Partnership members kept secret as meeting called

A special Sandown Town Council (STC) meeting has been called to discuss “business relating to Sandham Gardens” – including the junior skate park failure.

The council are expected to be quizzed on their relationship with the Sandown Community Partnership (SCP) after Mayor Jacquie Mereweather resigned from the partnership on August 22.

Mayor Mereweather resigned as SCP’s secretary after admitting she had failed to disclose a partnership allowance paid to her on her register of interests.

The chairman of the SCP and Sandown Town Councillor Gary Young, refused to confirm the current members of the partnership on August 29.

Cllr Young’s original rationale for keeping the information secret was, “some might not want this”, but on August 30, he cited GDPR rules as his reason for not disclosing the information.

Cllr Young added that the partnership did not dissolve during a secret member’s meeting on August 28.

Cllr Gary Young

Six Sandown Town Councillors are listed as members of the partnership on its website.

The partnership’s website may be out of date, but lists the members as; Cllr Connie Cowley, Dave Rogers, Cllr Gary Young, Cllr Ian Ward, Cllr Heather Humby, Cllr Ronnie Teasdale, Val Stephenson, Cllr Raj Patel, Mary Smith, John Davies and Mayor Jacquie Mereweather.

They have been all been contacted for confirmation of their membership.

Cllr Humby said: “I have sent my letter of resignation, as I announced at the last meeting, and as the coordinator of Sandown Forum, it is my intention to ask for another member to become the partnership representative.”

Mr Rogers said: “My letter of resignation of the partnership was addressed to the chairman dated June 26, 2017.”

The special meeting will be held on Wednesday (September 5) at 7pm in The Broadway Centre and will open with 15 minutes for questions from the public that relate to the agenda.

The minutes of an emergency meeting held on August 8 are to be ratified – this is when the council agreed to remove the faulty junior skate park.

Junior skate park Sandown – by J.Sheath

Also on the agenda is an offer to remove the faulty skate ramps for free by Hydromar Ltd, a Sandown based engineering company whose general manager is Cllr Alex Lightfoot.

Does the partnership spend taxpayer money?

Councillors are expected to explain whether or not the junior skate park was funded by a town council grant made to the partnership.

SCP say the junior skate park was paid for from fundraising money, but the council clerk says the installation of the project would have been paid for by STC as the partnership did not have sufficient funds to do so.

On August 30, partnership chair, Cllr Young said: “Public money was not spent on projects. If you are referring to the skate park, there was sufficient funds from previous fundraising to pay for this. I do not have to disclose to you what it was spent on. No funding has been received for the current year.”

STC Clerk Tina Bailey, says town council funding has been received by the partnership for the current year.

She said: “The town council would have been paying for the installation of the junior skate park as the partnership did not have sufficient funds to do so, but due to the problems no sum of money for the installation has been paid.

“I believe a £1250 grant was paid to the partnership which had been allocated in the 2017/18 budget towards the partnership’s administration costs.

“It was not mistakenly paid as it had been authorised but paid into one of two partnership bank accounts.

“From the point of receipt into the partnership’s account, only the partnership can tell you where it has gone or how it has been spent.”