Political row erupts in Highgate over “waste of money” council meetings

A political row has erupted in Highgate over “waste of money” council meetings after just one resident showed up to a public talk on town hall cuts.

Haringey Council spent �910 on holding the meeting about budget cuts at the end of November in Highgate Primary School in Storey Road, Highgate.

But it has prompted accusations from opposition Liberal Democrat councillors that the authority has squandered public funds in stringent times.

Residents also accused the council of not doing enough to publicise the “important” meeting after it emerged that the Highgate Society, the largest residents group in Highgate, was only contacted the day before.

Michael Hammerson, of the Highgate Society, said: “It was absolutely no notice whatsoever and it was quite an important meeting which we would have wanted to go to.

“If you don’t tell people about a meeting they aren’t going to turn up.”

Liberal Democrat Highgate Cllr Rachel Allison accused the Labour council of running a “tick-box failed consultation”.

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But Labour finance boss Cllr Joe Goldberg has fiercely defended the meeting, which he said was designed to “put power back in the hands of residents”.

Cllr Goldberg said: “In these tough times, I was adamant that we provide the opportunity for residents to have their say, so that we could listen to their ideas and concerns and identify the priorities to take our borough forward.

“It is truly astonishing that any member of a democratic political party should be suggesting that the council should close its ears to the people, particularly when it is facing difficult times.”