THE management of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion was thrown into doubt at a bad-tempered council meeting on Thursday.

A planned transfer of responsibility for the Pavilion, alongside its gardens, museums and the Brighton Dome, to the board of an independent charitable trust has been delayed by at least three months.

The decision by the tourism committee followed receipt of a petition showing 90 per cent of the nearly 200 affected staff felt they had not been sufficiently consulted over the planned changes, which have been in the pipeline for years.

The ensuing debate sparked a bad-tempered row between councillors, with a walk-out and Labour members who criticised the need for a delay accused of hanging council officers out to dry.

Last January the council gave the go-ahead to a long-discussed proposal to move the governance of the RoyalPavilion and Museums from the council to a charitable entity.

This trust would have responsibility for managing the Royal Pavilion and Museums, its gardens, the Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, and the Music and Arts Service.

It was previously agreed to make the change in two stages but it has recently been decided to do it in a single jump.

However angry staff delivered a petition to councillors saying they were worried about terms and conditions, and had not been sufficiently consulted – despite the project’s lengthy incubation period.

Green Councillor Tom Druitt said yesterday: “It was obvious the process has not been well handled.”

He said Labour councillors criticised the process without acknowledging their responsibility for it as the administration party.

There was a hot-tempered debate, during which committee chairman Councillor Alan Robins, Labour, left the room.

Cllr Robins told The Argus he needed the bathroom.

Cllr Druitt said: “That’s absolute nonsense, he shouted ‘I’m not listening to this’, shouted across the chamber, and walked out.”

The committee passed an amendment that the powerful policy and resources committee should later this month “agree the proposal to move the management of the service to a single trust in one stage rather than two stages, but subject to a delay in the proposed timetable of a further three months”.