Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group
   •   home   •   


Press Release - 11 January 2007

BBEG reply to David O'Connor, Acting Monitoring Officer, LCC

Mr David O’Connor
Acting Monitoring Officer
Lincolnshire County Council
County Offices

11 January 2007

Dear Mr O'Connor
I am writing in response to your email below dated 08 Jan 2007.
Firstly, we do not understand the logic behind your remarks that the Highways PDG is only advisory and does not make decisions. Surely, it is a committee, as in Parliament, that discusses bills etc. and passes them forward for approval. This Group (is supposed) to develop policy and therefore accurate Minutes are extremely relevant here. If it doesn't make decisions, why do members of the Highways PDG cast a vote? We completely disagree with your comments here.

Secondly, the letter from Christine Basu was posted directly (and personally) to Cllr Hill and then sent later to the press shortly after he took office and I attach a copy of it here for your information:
PDF Document Letter to Cllr Martin Hill from Christine Basu
No direct reply was received. Incidentally, Christine Basu also wrote to Cllr William Webb on 8 October 2006 about reallocation of funding and did not receive a reply either. We would therefore be grateful if you could also look into this for us at the same time.

Thirdly, my email of 19 December 2006 was sent with the intention of seeking an answer to the question, "Which independent auditors and inspectors are supposed to be monitoring the decisions made by Officers and Executive Group at Lincolnshire County Council?" This resulted from a statement made by David Cameron's office that independent auditors and inspectors do actually monitor LCC. Letters we have received from the Local Government Ombudsman, the Audit Commission and the Information Commissioner, all seem to claim it not to be their specific role? If you could please expand on this in more detail for us, we would very much appreciate it.
We are purely interested in honest, detailed, democratic facts, not implications. We (that is 61% of the public in Boston in accordance with the results of the Public Consultation exercise - who elect Councillors to represent them, 81% of the text voters in the whole of Lincolnshire who texted BBC Radio Lincolnshire in July 2006) simply want a major road infrastructure for Boston, not a bit-part solution. We therefore hope that you can offer us the satisfactory answers and reassurances that we are looking for with all the above.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely

Robert Fisher
Chair, Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
11 January 2007


Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 8:03 AM
Subject: Transport in Boston

Dear Mr Fisher

I am replying by e-mail to several enquiries you have made recently
concerning transport in Boston.

On 3 January 2007 you sent an e-mail to Councillor Cooper, Chair of the
Highways Policy Development Group complaining that notes of their
meeting on 4 December 2006 omitted details of comments made by
Councillors Austin and Coupland.

The notes you have seen are those of an informal advisory body that
does not, and indeed cannot, make any formal decisions on behalf of the
county council.  As such, their notes are not intended to be formal
minutes but to reflect action points arising from their discussions.
Also, those to which you refer are still draft and are put for approval
to the next meeting so it could be open to the Policy Development Group
to amend the notes.

On 3 January 2007  you sent an e-mail to me regarding a report to the
County Council's Executive on 9 January 2007 concerning the Transport
Strategy for Boston.  Your e-mail stated that you disagreed with
comments on the report that the decision to be made is lawful and within
the remit of the Executive.  Your e-mail also asked that independent
auditors and inspectors call a halt to proceedings.  Monitoring officer
comments on reports are delegated to be made by legal officers within
the council so I am not commenting on my own comments here.  I have
reviewed the position and can say that the transport strategy for Boston
is mentioned in the Councils Local Transport Plan which has been in the
public domain for some time.  Paragraph 12.18 of chapter 12 of the Local
Transport Plan, which is entitled 'Tackling Congestion - Boston', states
that the study was expected to be completed in Summer 2006 and it is
envisaged that it will identify some initial work that could be
undertaken with funding from both within the County Council and through
the Local Transport Plan that will deliver some immediate improvements.
Other major solutions identified will need to be developed further, both
in terms of detail and future funding. The Local Transport Plan is part
of the Policy Framework within the Councils Constitution, so the
Executive has the authority to make a decision on this particular Report
on 9 January 2007.

Also on 3 January 2007 you e-mailed me a copy letter from 3 November
2006 complaining that members of the  County Council's Executive were
appointed by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Martin Hill and that
Councillor Hill had failed to reply to an open letter published by
Christine Basu on 7 April 2005.

Legislation provides for executive functions in local government to be
carried out only in particular ways, including the 'Leader and Cabinet'
operating in Lincolnshire and in the vast majority of councils.
Detailed local provisions are in the Council's Constitution.
Appointments to the Executive in Lincolnshire comply with national
legislation and the Constitution.

So far as the open letter from Christine Basu is concerned I should be
obliged if you would let me know if and, if so, how that was sent to
Councillor Hill or whether it was an open letter that was just
publicised generally.  Once I have that information I shall try to look
into the situation further.

Please accept my apologies for failing to respond earlier to your
letter of  3 November 2006.

You also copied me into a 'round-robin' e-mail / press release on 19
December that made statements about transport in Boston but did not make
any specific points  for me to look at.

Finally, your correspondence implies that decisions made in the County
Council on transport in Boston are illegal. but are unclear as to the
grounds.  As you can see from my comments above, I can find no
justification for that and can confirm the basis on which decisions are
made.  However, if you wish to provide further more specific information
about the legal provisions that you feel have been breached I shall look
into them.

I am copying this response for information to Councillors Hill and
Cooper and to Paul Coathup in the Development Directorate.

Yours faithfully

David O'Connor

Assistant Chief Executive (Performance)
Monitoring Officer
Public Meeting
Public Meeting
The BBPG & BBEG are to hold a Public Meeting
on Mon 29 Jan 2007 at 7pm at Haven High Technology College in Boston. More...