AS a ratepayer in favour of what the redevelopment of the art gallery can do for the renewal of Newcastle financially and as a genuine tourist magnet, I was outraged at Tuesday night’s council meeting by what I would describe as manipulation of the debate by the lord mayor.
With a protocol to govern the number of speakers on both sides, he intervened halfway through to let the general manager make a supposedly neutral statement.
Despite the general manager stating he had no wish to enter the debate, he made a contribution supporting those against proceeding with the redevelopment. It was in my opinion a misuse of the council’s processes.
Mind you, no councillor fighting to keep the redevelopment seemed to notice or call a point of order, which summed up the level of debate overall.
It was a stuttering, disorganised event, disappointing for the overflowing crowd given the significance of this issue.
It sets Newcastle’s renewal back and has echoes of the 1930s when the city was arguing why citizens needed a cultural centre at all.