Opposition councillors in B&NES have tabled an official challenge, or ‘call in’, to last week’s Cabinet decision to press ahead with the east of Bath park and ride.
The call in was signed by councillors from all opposition political parties on B&NES Council (Lib Dem, Labour, and Green) and will mean the decision will be brought to one of the Council’s watchdog committees of councillors for further scrutiny in public session.
Following this, if the call in is upheld by the panel, the Cabinet will be forced to reconsider their decision within 10 working days. However, if the call in is dismissed, the original decision will be implemented.
Councillor Alison Millar (Bathavon North, Lib Dem), who will be the lead councillor on the call in, commented: “We are challenging this decision on a wide range of different grounds which the Conservative administration failed properly to consider before signing off on the Park and Ride last week, and which render that decision unsound.
“This call in is one of the few powers available to opposition Councillors to hold the Cabinet to account and force them to prove their case.”
“Failures in the way this terrible proposal has been handled include: inaccuracies and omissions in the report supplied to cabinet; the stakeholder consultation, which was very poorly constructed and which they ultimately ignored; muddled language in the recommendations; and the lack of tangible evidence justifying this project overall.”
“Of particular concern is the huge public outcry which has occurred since the decision. In the last few days several prominent individuals who live in Bath have added their voices to express their concern. Surely this should be setting alarm bells ringing?
“It’s not too late for the Cabinet to step back from the breach; to decide to preserve the green belt for the purpose for which it is intended and to focus its efforts on producing effective solutions to the congestion and pollution problems of this city.”
Councillor Joe Rayment (Twerton, Labour), added: “I truly hope that the scrutiny panel which assesses this call-in request will look very carefully at our arguments and the strength of public opinion, and councillors will ignore party loyalties for the good of our area.”
“It is vitally important that this decision is not taken lightly – given the irreversible nature of concreting over a meadow – and it is right that the Cabinet should think again.”
“Labour are steadfast in their opposition to the plan as approved, and we will continue to work with Liberal Democrats, Greens and even rebel Conservatives to ensure that construction work never begins on this ill-conceived project.”