West Lindsey District Council held a special meeting to discuss controversial plans to build a hotel on Whitton’s Gardens in Gainsborough - but the public were not allowed in.
The extraordinary meeting at the Guildhall on the evening of Monday 25th February saw the discussions on ‘pink paper’ - meaning that the public and press were asked to leave.
Several concerned residents and local opposition groups went along to the meeting but were frustrated to be turned away.
One attendee said: “This is a matter of huge public interest. It’s disgusting that they aren’t allowing us in to have our say.”
A spokesman from West Lindsey District Council responded: “The Council wanted to discuss the details of the important commercial project involving the business affairs of third parties.”
“Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 specifically paragraph three of part one of schedule 12a members voted to exclude the press and public from the meeting to enable an effective discussion while protecting the business affairs of the third party.”
The spokesman continued: “This legal provision is used by local authorities to weigh up the need to ensure transparency and accountability of decisions to the public against the right of a third party to the privacy of their financial or business affairs.”
“The meeting had a thorough and comprehensive debate.”
The 50-room Premiere Inn hotel plans are part of a wider scheme to improve the Elswitha Quarter of the town - including a cinema, shops and much more.