THE BLOG
04/09/2013 07:28 BST | Updated 03/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Accountability, Transparency and a Reliance on Apathy - Help Needed

This will be a short blog, and once again focuses on my current pre-occupation with local politics, and in particular with what is happening in the city in which I live.

The County Council is still refusing to engage in any kind of proper dialogue with its people, over anything, but the following factors need to be given a wider airing, and if anyone in central government, particularly with the focus on lobbying, would like to take this further, then all the better.

If you go to the Herefordshire Council website, regarding the current proposed road development, which can be found here, you will see that "The initial idea was proposed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership". Oh, so that seems to be all well and good, doesn't it?

If you go to the website for the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, you will find that one of the board members is a councillor who, until recently, was leader of Herefordshire Council. He is also on the board of Hereford Futures, one of the 'partners' of the Marches Local Enterprise Board. These are the two organisations that submitted letters of support for the application for funding under the Pinch Point scheme. Further delving and sensible use of search engines shows that there are two other members of the Herefordshire Council cabinet on the board of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, including the current leader.

Now, I am not saying that there has been any wrongdoing at all, but surely these organisations are far too closely intertwined to be offering support for work that will create a huge scar on a city like Hereford?

If you look carefully at the application for Pinch Point funding that the Council submitted, it was clearly asked if consultation had taken place, and it said yes. There had been none and now it is said that there needn't have been, due to the value of the works.

There is also a question asking whether there is likely to be any protest, and the council said no. The petition against the felling of the Edgar Street trees now stands at nearly 2500 signatures. In fact, the application, all 65 pages of it, makes no mention of removing trees in this part of the city, and it hangs the 'importance' of road development on the altar of a development that nobody wanted in the first place.

it could be said therefore, that incorrect information was given by the Council in its initial application, yet there seems to be no way to delay works so that proper discussion can take place.

Surely there needs to be transparency? I looked for the minutes of the meetings of the Marches LEP, but the last ones posted online were for a meeting held in June 2011! Surely this is not satisfactory?

Once again, I am not saying there has been wrongdoing, but there is no transparency, no accountability, and seemingly no recourse for the people of Hereford to make their voices heard.

Hopefully someone will read this and take it further.