York Green Party

Lendal Bridge must not become a political football

14 November 2014

An external review by consultants - costing taxpayers £7,000 - into the botched Lendal Bridge trial closure was revealed yesterday for the first time. Councillors, including Green Group leader Andy D'Agorne, were first presented with the document, dated June 2014, at a meeting of the Economic & City Development Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

The report, conducted by Crown Management Solutions1 and now available publicly on the York Press website, found a string of failings of project management. It claims that no senior officer was responsible for overall development and management of the project, with individual aspects being handed between senior officers. Meetings were disparate and did not have formal agendas or minutes, and no additional resources were allocated to the development stage of the project. The unpopularity of the scheme then generated a huge further workload in responding to complaints and Freedom of Information requests.

Councillor Andy D'Agorne said "this report gives us a good insight into how things managed to go so badly wrong with the trial closure. I have written to the Chief Executive asking that she responds to the criticisms of the process at the next meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee. The council has responded to the report internally2, but now that Councillors have read the report this cross-party committee should be able to ask detailed questions in public view. I feel this would be more effective and less party political than the scrutiny topic that was proposed."

This meeting of the Economic and City Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee was the first to be chaired by the recently re-elected Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Waller. Cllr Waller proposed to launch a Councillor-led scrutiny review of the Lendal Bridge trial - a topic which had previously been rejected at the June meeting. The remit proposed included consideration of decisions leading up to the trial, measures undertaken, communication and outcomes. But the topic was again rejected by a vote of 4 to 3, with Andy D'Agorne making the casting vote against the proposal.

Andy said, "the CMS report clearly needs to be acted on - we need to fix the failings in internal Council workings that the review has highlighted. But this needs to be done carefully, focused on the management processes, rather than crossing over the work of the Congestion Commission. A wide-ranging scrutiny topic as framed in Cllr Waller's proposed remit would take up to a year to conduct and report, when we already have a report that we should be acting on. In the run-up to an election we need more light and less heat on this subject."

"We have a serious problem with traffic - people are dying prematurely every week due to traffic pollution. I want to see improvements to the Council's management as well as speedy progress on the cross-party commission on traffic congestion. The Tories and Lib-Dems would appear to prefer to spend another year raking over the entrails of this scheme, tying up precious officer time with a wide ranging review rather than focussing on new solutions to tackle the problem."


Notes -

1. Crown Management Solutions are a Barnsley-based consultancy run by Keith Lumley, the former Chief Superintendant of South Yorkshire Police. They do not have a website.

2. The Council's response to the CMS report and progress toward implementing the recommendation is also available via the York Press website.

3. The Scoping Report on the proposed scrutiny topic as available at item 9 on the Agenda for Economic & City Development Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 12th November, 2014 5.30 pm

RSS Feed York Green Party RSS Feed

What have your Green councillors ever done for you?
Donate to your local party
Turn York Green Party Green

Sign up here to receive our monthly updates

We'll mail you about once a month with Green Party news and updates for your area. We'll always keep your details safe, private and secure.

members' site