At the beginning of last night’s Isle of Wight council Cabinet meeting, Cowes resident Tanja Rebel (a regular at many council meetings) raised a query in relation to the Riverside Centre.
She asked, “My question is whether the Chief Executive (Steve Beynon), before he leaves, would be so kind as to answer why he threatened the MP with action for being at the Riverside Centre.”
Pugh: “False accusation”
This was immediately refuted by the leader of the council who was chairing the meeting, Cllr David Pugh. He stated, “Your suggestion is a false accusation.”
Newport resident Steven Goodman called out from the public gallery, “not according to the email he sent,” which was followed by Ms Rebel replying, “I saw the quote in the County Press, so are you saying the CP are lying?”
“I think if you want to look at that carefully and perhaps put that claim in writing, we’ll be happy to respond.” said Cllr Pugh, who then moved swiftly onto the next agenda item.
Beynon: “We will take action”
As cited by Ms Rebel, the County Press did carry an article about the Riverside Centre on page four of the paper on 25th January 2013.
The opening paragraph reads, “Papers leaked to the County Press reveal the IW Council’s chief executive threatened to take action if Island MP Andrew Turner moved into an office at the troubled Riverside Centre.”
OnTheWight has also been shown documents surrounding issues at the Riverside Centre, including an email from Steve Beynon dated March 2011, the day before MP Andrew Turner moved into the Riverside.
In relation to the move, Steve Beynon wrote, “If this does happen it will be a clear breach of the lease and we will take action …”.
Riverside threatened not MP
On careful re-examination of the details, it appears Steve Beynon was threatening to take action against the Riverside Centre, not the MP, if the MP were to move his constituency office in to the Riverside Centre.