Local Councillors scupper £55K Keynsham Cycle To School Scheme

I’m sort of at a loss as to work out what has happened here:

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 14.28.59

I do not want to speculate too much, but it looks like the scheme was put out for consultation(pdf) with no significant issues.

[EDIT]: The lamp posts along the existing path had already been removed in preparation for the work. It was *that* close to being built.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 09.54.07

I even suggested some improvements(pdf) that would be easy to implement as part of the scheme with no change to costs.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 11.00.01

So despite no major issues, and couple of local councillors objections that were deemed to be not an issue, the scheme was still going ahead.

Councillors refused to sign

However Local Growth Fund grants required local councillors, that objected to the scheme, to sign off the £55k grant request. They did not do this so the money has been returned to the Local Growth Fund. This link literally connects a school better to it’s community and enables kids to cycle to school safely.

The role of councillors

I recognise that the role of the councillor is to be the interface between the community and the council. That they work to Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life, being Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership. As a councillor you absolutely have a right to raise concerns and object, but you also need to be objective and listen to the council officers. They listened to your objections and they then addressed them. You may not have liked the answer they came to, but you had your say.

Objectivity

I regularly raise issues and provide solutions to councillors.  I have been told time and again by councillors that they would “listen to the expertise of the council officers and go with their recommendations”. This is clearly not the case here.

To scupper a Cycle to School scheme after it was approved using a technicality is a low blow. Shame on you. Dear local councillors, please go re-read Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life. In particular:

3. Objectivity

Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

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