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Hilderthorpe Road residents’ petition

July 18, 2013

On 13th March the Environment and Regeneration Committee received a petition from 342 residents protesting at the state of Hilderthorpe Road

I would like to protest at the Council inflicted derelict state of Hilderthorpe Road, the main route into Bridlington and would also like to know why the East Riding of Yorkshire Council have not offered any help or advice to house owners or businesses in the area.

Today the committee chaired by Bridlington North member Cllr John Wilkinson, issued their response. The report essentially states that everything in the garden is lovely and concludes that officers should be able to carry on as they have been doing.

This proves what a farce ERYC scrutiny is; going through the motions to give the impression of accountability.

As a former scrutiny Committee Chairman, I have experienced first-hand how the system is stitched-up by council leaders and officers.

We have the Council Leader appointing those who scrutinise him and his Cabinet, and openly sacking back-benchers who dare to do their job in trying to holding him to account.

The constitution prevents committees scrutinising ‘operational matters ‘ so they can not look into decisions made by officers. This is contrary to advice given to ERYC Members by the Centre for Public Scrutiny.

Officers routinely ignore scrutiny recommendations, although officially adopted as policy by Full Council. Officers usurp the Council’s decision by saying recommendations are only ‘noted’ and can not be enforced.

Scrutiny meetings are held during the morning when most residents can not attend, and the committee are clock-watching for lunch. The work programme for each committee is so full that no subject is every properly discussed or questioned.

There is no record of the debate or questioning in the minutes of any meeting (not permitted even if the chairman asks for them to be included).

While other councils broadcast their proceedings, ERYC aggressively prevent anyone recording theirs. Statements are read before any meeting as being ‘in accordance with the Council’s policy’, but it is unclear when this policy was ever debated and adopted by the elected members.

When members try to make changes to address these issues they are told they can not amend the constitution.

Until this council puts proper democratic processes in place there is, and can be, no effective scrutiny, and there is no democracy at County Hall. It is incumbent on all councillors to understand what the process should be and get it sorted.

Until then, as we see today, residents cannot rely on the council’s scrutiny process.

What we need is a proper independent inquiry into the incompetence and waste of millions of public money that has left Bridlington in such a mess. Those responsible must be properly held to account.

Geoff Pickering


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