A Cabinet decision to spend a further £300,000 on consultants’ fees in preparation for the East of Bath Park and Ride will be considered by a Council watchdog panel next week, even though requests by opposition councillors for a formal challenge process were refused.
Councillors had originally asked for a full ‘Call In’ process, which would have entailed a special public meeting to look into the decision, however this was disallowed. The agreement to allow the Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel to consider the financial aspects of the decision comes after protests by Councillors who had signed the request.
Councillor Alison Millar (Bathavon North) commented:
“I welcome this partial U-turn by the Council. Although not a full Call In process, this ruling will at least allow questions to be asked about the Council’s ongoing high levels of expenditure on professional advice relating to the East of Bath park and ride."
“The Cabinet members must not be allowed to use procedural rules to escape scrutiny of their decisions. These safeguards are built into the Council’s constitution to ensure that public money is spent wisely and that the Cabinet can be held to account.”
Councillor Andrew Furse (Kingsmead), who is the Lib Dem representative on the Resources panel, commented:
“Many residents will no doubt have concerns that the Council is spending so much – over £1m – on preparatory work before the final decision to go ahead with this controversial project has even been taken. By bringing this decision before the proper committee, these questions can be raised in a public forum.”
The meeting of the Resources panel will take place on Wednesday 23 November at 4.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at the Guildhall in Bath. Panel meetings are open to the public.
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