Councillor Howard Jones’s death was a great loss to his family, friends and our community.

Sadly, few of Kingston’s residents fully appreciate the value of his immense public service.

Howard was a retired senior detective, with a strong moral compass. He deployed his professional skills to cut through the fog of complexity and reveal the heart of any matter.

His relentless focus on the Rose Theatre is an example of his determination to hold people to account for the decisions they make on behalf of all of us.

It is Kingston’s loss that he is no longer with us to help deal with the ongoing financial problems at the Rose.

On April 14, our council agreed yet another rescue package for the Rose – I have lost count of how many have been mounted.

What would Howard have contributed to council debate had he participated?

He would probably have started by reminding the council of its 2006 scrutiny panel report into the Rose, especially the implications for school places in Kingston.

The panel, which Howard chaired, concluded: “The executive has, therefore, failed to fulfil its fiduciary duty to the council tax payers.

“In 2002, the administration made a clear statement that there would be a theatre, but without the use of public money.

“As a measure of the opportunity cost for the council tax payer, £6.8m would, for example, build two new top-of-therange primary schools or refurbish a secondary school.

The business plan does not appear to be as robust as it needs to be.

“No attempts have been made to seek council tax payers’ views on this investment.”

Howard would then have described similar subsequent reports as the Rose continued to suck in ever more subsidy.

Why has our council not taken effective action on the Rose? How much money has now been poured into the Rose? Why does the council have tunnel vision when searching for a solution?

Lessons have not been learned. More of the same just leads to the same old problem.

Who will take over from Howard and champion this case?

Clearly, his replacement will not be found from the councillors who voted for the latest rescue package.

Will someone please step forward and inject some clear-headed thinking.