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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Canterbury city Labour councillor's sales patter branded 'dodgy' after offering to give council a quote on £100,000 solar panels during budget meeting

23 February 2014
by Lowri Stafford

A Canterbury councillor who sidelines as a solar panel salesman has said they should be installed on all council buildings – at a cost of £100,000.

Labour's Phil Cartwright, who runs a renewable energy company, wanted the spending to be included in the city council's budget for next year and even offered to obtain a quote.

But despite declaring an interest, his sales patter was branded "dodgy" by other members, who told him to be very careful.

Cllr Phil Cartwright offered to give the council a quote on solar panels

Cllr Phil Cartwright offered to give the council a quote on solar panels

At the council's budget meeting, Cllr Cartwright set out his party's amendments to the ruling Tory group's budget proposals for the year.

He suggested the council should spend some of its reserves installing photovoltaics on its buildings to save on energy costs and generate income.

He said: "The Labour group has consistently stated that the reserves should only be plundered to increase revenue.

"We propose that £100,000 be put aside from our reserves to install suitable renewable energy systems on council buildings to alleviate future energy costs.

"Look at Westgate hall, the IT buiding, Kings Hall, the Horsebridge and Umbrella Centre. All are suitable for photovoltaics."

Council leader John Gilbey said the roof of the authority's Military Road office was not strong enough to hold solar panels, but Cllr Cartwright disagreed.

A Canterbury councillor sidelines as a solar panel salesman

A Canterbury councillor sidelines as a solar panel salesman

The same proposal was rejected at last year's budget meeting, but this year Cllr Cartwright lowered his expectation by £100,000.

Sensing hostility to his bid, he instead suggested spending £50,000 installing solar panels on one building - and even offered to obtain a quote for the council.

"We propose that £100,000 be put aside from our reserves to install suitable renewable energy systems on council buildings to alleviate future energy costs..." - Cllr Phil Cartwright

He added: "You can leave the money in the bank and get 2 to 3% interest or put it on the roof and get a return of 16%."

Afterwards, Cllr Jenny Edwards (Con) said she had been in favour of the proposal - but abstained from voting because Cllr Cartwright's sales pitch came across as "too dodgy".

The motion was lost, along with several others from opposition parties – except for one about security cameras.

There was no money left in the pot for charities, Christmas lights or museums - but £20,000 was found for CCTV after a councillor's car was almost broken into.

It came after Cllr Pat Todd warned members to ensure their vehicles were locked, after a would-be thief attempted to break into his car parked at Tower House the night before.

Concerns were also raised about general safety in the gardens after it emerged there were few working security cameras covering the area.

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