Why does a non-story featuring Tory Councillors make the front page?

After reading the front page (!) of the Mid Sussex Citizen dated 16/1/13 headlined “Council set to spend £15k on town’s cinema” and an identical story in the Middy dated 10/1/13, a reader may well be left with the impression that this must be a spontaneous act of generosity from a beneficent Conservative controlled Mid Sussex District Council.


All is not as it seems

However, as so often in politics, all is not quite what it seems. One only has to read through the Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet minutes dated 14/1/13, to discover that this £15k expenditure will have nothing to do with “supporting our local businesses” as claimed in the Middy by Conservative Councillor Anne Jones speaking on behalf of Conservative Councillor Andrew Barrett-Miles.

The £15k expenditure will simply be MSDC as the owner of the freehold of the cinema, fulfilling its longstanding  maintenance obligation to its leaseholder. According to MSDC Cabinet Minutes dated 14/1/13, note 19: “In order to comply with the Councils legal obligations works to the exterior and entrance of the Orion cinema Burgess Hill costing £15,000 are needed to be undertaken”.

Media backing councillor’s ulterior motive?
So why has the Middy and the Mid Sussex Citizen in particular, given such prominence to this relatively small story and featured the aforementioned Conservative Councillors?

Could it be because Conservative Councillors Anne Jones and Andrew Barrett-Miles, will probably be the Conservative candidates for Burgess Hill in the forthcoming County Council elections in May 2013?