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Council rivals row over 'transparency'
TWO political rivals at Worcester City Council have clashed over “transparency” – with claims the new Labour leadership is not “open enough” rubbished.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, the deputy leader of the Tory group, says since his party was dumped from power the new administration is trying to be too secretive.
His stance was refuted by council leader Adrian Gregson, who said he had “bent over backwards” to be open.
Coun Bayliss said the recent row about giving the county council a slice of land off the A38 in St Peter’s to allow the Ketch roundabout to expand was the latest in a series of issues.
He said: “We’ve got an administration which refused to consult for two months on its plans, didn’t tell the residents of St Peter’s some of its land will be handed to the county council, and doesn’t tell councillors in Warndon their play area will be ripped out.”
He also asked: “When will we start to see evidence of the more open and democratic council the leader promised?”
The criticism led to Coun Gregson saying he was “completely wrong” to attack the leadership.
“Cabinet meetings are now longer than they ever were before, because I allow councillors to ask questions and have a fair say,” he said.
“I have bent over backwards to allow all members, should they turn up, full rein to say what they want, however they want, so to suggest there is no openness and transparency is completely wrong.”
Since taking control, Labour has held a number of councillor forums, launched a budget consultation with the public and invited Lib Dem group leader Coun Liz Smith into the cabinet.
It has also relaunched a public survey, called the Viewpoint panel, to ensure it brings in quality feedback.
“It’s a bit rich as during the short time we’ve been in control, we’ve demonstrated a number of innovations which shows our commitment to openness and transparency,” he said.
Labour teamed up with the Lib Dems and lone Green Party councillor Neil Laurenson in May, wrestling control from the Conservatives for the first time in 13 years.
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