New council leader wants to hold a referendum

It's out with the old, and in with the new in Hull. The ruling Liberal Democrats were booted out, and Labour swept to power in what was a very dramatic election night. Walking around the Guildhall during the count, there were many shocked faces; not only from the Liberal Democrats, but many from Labour, too.

We know some cuts are not going to take place. We also know some planned voluntary redundancies are going to be scrapped. We also know the new ruling group (who formally take control this week at the council's AGM) plan to hold a referendum on the sale of the city's KC Stadium.

The KC Stadium (the home of Hull City AFC and Hull FC - the rugby league club) was built in 2002. It was funded with £42 million of public money raised from the sale of some of the council's shareholding in Kingston Communications. A Stadium Management Company was set-up, with any profits paid back to Hull City Council. This has not proved a great deal for taxpayers, and the owner of Hull City AFC, Assem Allam, has been fighting a war in the media saying he wants to buy the stadium, extend it, and build a new complex on the current site.

I made it clear last week in an article for the Hull Daily Mail that if the price is right, the council should sell. It will cost millions of pounds to increase the seating capacity. This is money the public purse cannot afford, and should not pay for. For the stadium to flourish, it needs to be in private hands.

What the new leader of the council, Stephen Brady, intends to do is not make a decision on the future of the stadium; something he is elected to do. He plans to hold a referendum and let the people decide. This referendum could easily cost in excess of £100K; money we cannot afford.

If Cllr Brady and Mr Allam feel there is a deal on the table, he should put this through scrutiny and then before the full council to make a decision. We don't need a referendum. It's decisions like this one we elect councillors to make. If they shirk their responsibilities, what is the point of having elections?

I urge all our supporters in Hull to write to Cllr Brady and tell him this is a referendum we don't need and can't afford. It is up to him and his colleagues to make a decision, and if a good deal for taxpayers is on the table, the decision should be made to sell.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay