Reasonable and pertinent questions from members of the public are being refused for submission at the City Deal Executive Board meeting. The following three questions regarding the West Cambridge busway were submitted to the Executive Board to be asked at the meeting tomorrow (Weds 25th Jan). They have been refused on the grounds that the West Cambridge busway is not specifically an agenda item. However, there are few opportunities in which the busway is an agenda item and therefore few opportunities for the public to (re-)state that they do not agree with the Executive Board’s preferred solution. Additionally you might notice that the second and third questioners actually deal (ironically) with the very subject of public scrutiny as well as the West Cambridge busway!
Allan Treacy: On what grounds could the City Deal executive contemplate backing a £207m off road solution if there is a circa £40m on-road alternative? Should not the City Deal be prioritising the saving of £160m of public money to be put towards more progressive solutions for the area’s transport challenges?
Alistair Burford: The protocol for public questions dated 10 November 2016 states that public questions are a fundamental part of an open and transparent democratic process.
I raised a question at the Joint Assembly on 18 January about an Atkins Report on Park and Ride locations dated September 2015. This report has not been made available to the public and quite clearly identifies Crome Lea farm as one of three sites around Madingley Mulch. Yet, the officers saw fit not to include this information in the public consultation and Crome Lea was only identified in public documents over a year later in September 2016 when it emerged as their preferred location.
My questions are:
1. Residents have raised serious concerns about a flawed consultation only to be told that it is not an agenda item. When members of the public raise concerns of this nature does the Board not think that they should be listened to regardless of whether it’s an agenda item or not?
2. Will the Board (not officers) undertake to investigate my concerns and provide a full written response?
3. Mr Menzies stated at the Joint Assembly that all Atkins reports are available to the public, would he mind providing the link to the 2 Atkins reports on the Park and Ride Locations?
Marilyn Treacy: Many Coton residents are dismayed by the stance that the City Deal executive has taken in avoiding answering their questions submitted by email or in a public forum.
If the residents of Coton do not receive adequate answers to their questions regarding the lack of transparency in factors leading to option 3/3a being chosen as the preferred option they may have no alternative but to take legal action. What action will the City Deal take to avoid this scenario?
This most recent example of the suppression of public scrutiny, followed the farce of last week’s Joint Assembly meeting in which public questions were grouped together, cut short and then not answered. You can watch it here.