Press Release - 09 February
Robert Fisher speaks to the Information Commissioner's Office and writes as requested
Case Reception Unit
Information Commissioner’s Office
09 February 2007
Thank you for telephoning me this morning. As stated, this ongoing saga of trying to get information from Lincolnshire County Council for months and months continues.
We were this week at last provided with what appear to be the original genuine set of missing Joint Officer Group Minutes this week, which revealed some disturbing news and it would seem to us is clearly is the reason these were withheld until after the Exec Group Decision and Scrutiny Management Group Call-In Decision had been made. The proposed road widening they are pushing through will have little effect on traffic flows, meaning pollution levels are set to increase, as they are proposing 3 lanes of traffic sitting in queues outside people's terraced houses. They have failed once again to include Boston in the Local Transport Plan to push for a major road scheme for Boston - a distributor or ring road around the town, with feeder roads (existing) into the town.
The fact that they have now provided an original set of Minutes for this meeting, calls into question all the other Minutes that were provided to us in newly created and named Word documents, specifically for the purpose. We believe the information provided to us has been both restricted and manipulated - in fact the same principle they applied to the public consultation exercise. The public have voiced their opinion for years about what is so desperately needed for Boston - a bypass/distributor road/ring road/major road scheme - call it what you like, but funding needs to come from Lincolnshire County Council and the Government as this is a road scheme, not a building development project.
David Cameron's Office told us that Lincolnshire County Council are subject to inspection by independent auditors and inspectors, but so far, not one such organisation has or is willing to go in and inspect the Council. As discussed, we do have a formal complaint which is at Stage 3 of the process, awaiting the Chief Executive to reply, before we go back again to the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman have already stated to us that they cannot follow up a complaint on behalf of the whole of the population of a town, so we are still awaiting an answer to which independent auditors and inspectors do actually have the authority to stop Lincolnshire County Council from doing exactly what they like. As you will see from our ongoing Formal Complaint, Richard Wills was the Officer who responded to our complaint, yet his remit seems to be both the creator of the problem and Lincolnshire County Council's appointed judge of it. Mr Derek May, another Officer, stated at the Public Consultation in Boston last summer, upon reading a statement from the Leader, Cllr Martin Hill, in the local paper, that, "He's the Leader, he can say what he likes." We find this to be totally unacceptable and undemocratic behaviour, which appears to have gone on for decades and will take a huge wave of momentum to try to change this culture and approach.
I look forward to hearing back from you in the hope that you can convince Lincolnshire County Council to start to be open and honest, provide us with the original documentation and information that we have asked for, and help us get an independent inspection of what exactly has been going on behind closed doors during the last 2 years and 2 months of our campaigning.
Thank you very much for your time today. We hope to hear from you soon.
Chair, Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
09 February 2007
Robert Fisher and Cllr William Webb interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire
"How can they widen a railway crossing to three lanes of traffic?" Robert Fisher
"Some of this funding actually comes from Boston Borough Council who may wish to spend part of this on other infrastructure in Boston besides actually putting down tarmac." Cllr William Webb
Listen to the full interview online
08 February 2007