Local Councillor 'gagged' over casino bid

A Conservative Councillor has attacked the decision to continue withholding a key report into the impact of the proposed Supercasino in Greenwich, saying the decision leaves him effectively "gagged" from discussing the issue. 

 

Cllr Nigel Fletcher, Conservative spokesman for Culture and Community in Greenwich, had asked for the release of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report which Greenwich Council commissioned into the impact a casino would have on the Borough.  The Council has previously claimed the report contains "commercially sensitive" material, and cannot be published. 

Cllr Fletcher (pictured right), was allowed to view the report at a council office, but only on a confidential basis.  He has been warned that disclosing its contents would be a breach of the Members' Code of Conduct, which could leave him liable to disciplinary action.  He has since asked for a partial disclosure of the non-confidential information. 

But in a letter this week, council officials told Cllr Fletcher, "the report was prepared by PwC on the contractual basis that the information in it  should not be made publicly available... They confirmed that they would reconsider granting consent to disclosure, once the bidding process had concluded... PwC have since restated their objection to disclosure of the report."

Cllr Fletcher said, "This whole saga is becoming rather absurd.  The casino bid is of crucial importance to the future regeneration of the Borough, and I am very much in favour of it, but people should be able to debate the issue on its merits before the decision is made, not afterwards.  I have great sympathy for Council officers, who seem to have their hands tied by the obstruction of PwC.  Meanwhile, I am effectively gagged from discussing information which I believe should rightly be in the public domain."