THE county’s head of transport has defended his decision to block the public and press from attending Redditch highways forums.
As the Standard revealed last week, Councillor Alan Amos (Con, Bedwardine) cabinet member with responsibility for Highways, has banned members of the the public and the press from going to the quarterly meetings at Redditch town hall.
However he said there was ‘nothing sinister about it’ the decision and there would be ‘no democratic deficit’.
“We have just two highways forums, one in Redditch and one in Malvern Hills and both are run entirely differently. One was open to the public, and one wasn’t,” said Coun Amos.
“We also have the potential of running six, one for each area of the county, and if this was so the implications for resourcing them would be enormous.
“These forums were designed for members to discuss matters of common concern so they could have an input – they were never intended to be open to the public.
“There are plenty of opportunities for people to have an input and the county councillors are directly accountable to the residents,” he added.
“We are taking the highways forums back to their original terms of reference – there is nothing sinister about this and there will be no democratic deficit.”
He said ‘liaison engineers’ would provide a direct link between the county council and Worcestershire’s districts and boroughs, offering a channel for ‘action’ to get things done rather than being a forum for talking.
“Councillors can raise issues through the proper channels and in terms of getting things done this is the way forward,” said Coun Amos.