NEW Teignbridge Council leader Martin Wrigley has been warned that delaying discussions on ‘important decisions’ could disadvantage residents.

Council managing director Phil Shears expressed his caution at a meeting of the council’s executive committee.

But Lib Dem leader Cllr Wrigley, pictured right, insisted more time was needed for discussions after he said items had been brought to the meeting without sufficient time for consideration.

He called for three items on the agenda to be deferred including the council’s own forward plan, the housing assistance policy which helps with disability adaptations, and a £175,000 improvement project to the scout hut at Highweek.

Cllr Wrigley, who was elected leader following the local elections in May, is adamant the authority should be a ‘community-led’ council.

But his insistence met resistance from council officers at the executive meeting.

Mr Shears told Cllr Wrigley that he was deferring a decision on housing policy that would allow disabled residents to get adaptations made to their homes without going through means testing.

He went on: ‘You are saying that residents applying for grants would have to go through a means testing process, costing them money, until you hear this item.

‘You are delaying the point at which residents can get their funding.’

He said money to pay for the scout hut had been in place for a long time, pointing out that Highweek Scouts themselves had made a financial commitment and that consultation had been carried out with the community and members.

He added: ‘Deferring this could disadvantage your communities and your residents.’

Cllr Wrigley said it was a ‘shame’ the items had not been brought forward earlier.

He explained he had already started discussions with council officers for the creation of a new council strategy to be a reflection of the community, which was part of the the Liberal Democrats manifesto at the local elections.

He said: ‘These are important reports and they must go through due process.

‘They must be discussed by the executive. 

‘If policy and strategy is being created without being discussed by the executive, that is unacceptable.

‘The executive is here to create strategy and policy.’

Teignbridge Scouts have raised £15,000 toward the hut project which would upgrade facilities and make them available for public hire.

Planned work includes an extension to the existing building, installation of a new larger kitchen, new accessible toilets and showers, a separate meeting room, insulation and energy efficiency improvements and car park resurfacing.

The bulk of the money is available from contributions from housing developers.

Mr Shears pointed out that there was a commitment from the scouts and that consultation had been carried out with the community and members.

Cllr Wrigley’s motion to defer the discussions was carried.