Facing a third round of public questions about the Willow Court committee in as many council meetings, Mayor Tony Nicholson admitted he was the council representative on the committee, but still would not say where the records of its meetings were kept, where the public could read those minutes, and when the committee’s elections were held.
Instead, the mayor said his questioner had not stated which Willow Court committee was being asked about. Councillor Nicholson said he had represented the council when the committee had dealt with Willow Court’s “oval precinct” but other councillors had been on the committee at other times. Responding to a further question – and a sea of bemused faces around the council table – Cr Nicholson identified former mayor Nick Cracknell (who retired in 2007) as the “other councillor”.
Despite the mayor’s assertions, the council’s own records (below) show there is only one Willow Court Special Committee – established in early 2006 to oversee the redevelopment of Willow Court. The council’s reluctance to allow public access to the minutes of that committee is in line with its earlier refusals to allow public scrutiny of Derwent Valley Investments – the council-owned company which preceded the Willow Court Special Committee.
The Derwent Valley Council has now owned the Willow Court historic site for about eight years.