Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group
 
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Press Release - 12 October 2006

BBEG reply to the Information Compliance Officer at Lincolnshire County Council

Dear Madam

Further to your email dated 3 October 2006 in which you state:

"Dear Mr Fisher
I write to inform you that I have been notified by the Technical Services Partnership (the department handling your request) that unfortunately the information will not be ready to be sent today as
previously stated in my e-mail to you of 6th September 2006.
You will be aware that this puts us in breach of the legislation under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which states that we must reply within 20 working days (unless additional time is required to apply the public interest test in the event that an exemption is applied to the disclosure).
Unfortunately I have not been provided with an explanation for the delay from the Technical Services Partnership, nor have I been provided with an estimate of when the information will be ready. I can only extend my sincere apologies for the delay and to thank you for your patience. I will make every effect to attempt to send a response to you by the end of this week when I shall contact you again in any event to provide an update.
My apologies once again.
Amy Hall
Information Compliance Officer
Lincolnshire County Council"

we would like to ask why you failed to respond by the end of last week "in any event", as we were expecting a reply from yourself, being the Information Compliance Officer for the Council?

You will be aware that on 10 October we subsequently received the following email from the Highways Department directly (for the Director for Development) as follows:

"My Ref: MR/06510/MR
Dear Mr Fisher
REQUEST REF. NO. 06510 - FOI
Request for Information
Subject - Boston Transport Study
Further to your email dated 6 September 2006 regarding your Freedom of Information request relating to a copy of the contract between Jacobs Babtie and Lincolnshire County Council.
There is an overreaching Professional Services Contract between Jacobs Babtie (now Jacobs) and Lincolnshire County Council to cover all consultancy work undertaken by Jacobs.
The specific project to which you refer, the Boston Transport Study, is one of the many projects undertaken through the Professional Services Contract and therefore the project brief is effectively the contract of work for this project. I attach a copy of this brief for your information.
With respect to the cost of the project;
The original Project Fee was £258,000. Of which:
Jacobs fee = £240,000
Lincolnshire County Council project management fees = £18,000
Since that time there have been additions to the project, namely:
The 'rat run' and junction counts requested by the pressure groups, additional meetings with Members, meetings with both the pressure groups, additional testing of the Dock Link Road and the addition of VISSIM modelling, which has totalled £60,000.
Therefore the total project cost to date is £258,000 + £60,000 = £318,000.
With respect to your question regarding restrictions/limitations, none have been imposed. The project brief was agreed by a joint officer group, comprising of Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Borough Council officers and approved by the stakeholders as noted above.
Please note that the appendices to the brief are not included in the attachment as this is exempt information for the purposes of the Act under section 43(2) in that its disclosure under the Act would or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the contractor and section 40 - Personal Information.
In relation to all applications of the exemption under section 43(2) of the Act the public interest in maintaining the commercial sensitivity of the information is considered to outweigh the public interests in its disclosure because the disclosure of commercially sensitive pricing information would reduce competition within the market and impact detrimentally on the Council's ability to achieve value for money in the use of public money.
I apologise for the lateness of my response to your request and trust that your questions have now been answered in full. If you have any further queries relating to this, please quote the Reference number above.
Yours sincerely
for Director for Development"

We would like to therefore ask the following questions:

1. We asked for a copy of the Contract between Jacobs and LCC and have not been provided with this - only a statement that there is an 'overreaching' Professional Services Contract. We would like to see a copy of this. The project brief, which we have already seen, does not include an agreement of cost between Jacobs and LCC. We would like to see confirmation please of the agreed cost between the two parties for the Boston Transport Study.

2. The statement made that in respect of restrictions/limitations, there were 'none imposed' is not correct. This has been confirmed by other involved parties, not just our own group. Our suggestions of what we thought the survey needed to include were on the whole ignored by Jacobs due to monetary restrictions imposed by LCC. Very few of the rat-runs were included and those that were, it is now clear that insufficient data was obtained to get the true picture. We insist on clarification of the statement made that 'no restrictions have been imposed'.

3. The project brief was agreed by a joint officer group, without consultation with the Stakeholders Reference Group. It is clear that this meeting (or meetings) in consultation with Members (ie. Councillors) determined the scope of the study. We therefore ask for a copy of the Minutes of this meeting(s) and a list of attendees, together with any decisions reached and actioned. Our original request for information asked 'by whom specifically'.

All this information is being copied to the Local Government Ombudsman.

We look forward to hearing back from you soonest. This request is a follow up to the FOI Request No. 06510, so we will not submit a new request until this one has been fully answered.

Yours faithfully

Robert Fisher
Chair, Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
12 October 2006

 

BBEG Meet MP
The BBEG have met with Mark Simmonds MP.
BBEG meet with Mark Simmonds MP
BBEG Chairman Robert Fisher states: "It was a very revealing meeting, and it also gave us the chance to reaffirm our group's stance that a bit-part solution will not be acceptable - we do not want to be passed off with another John Adams Way by widening existing roads - the only solution is the provision of a decent road infrastructure around the town."
29 September 2006
Read the full report...


In The News (June)
The BBEG's comments appeared in the Boston Target in June under the headline "Roads study on its way (like the town traffic, it's been held up)".

The BBEG stated, "At the public meeting held in November 2004 about Boston's dire traffic situation, one of the most over-whelming comments made by the public was that something needed to be done about the number of traffic lights in the town. Richard Wills later stated at the meeting with the Leaders of both Councils that, "he knows best" and "the traffic lights are here to stay". How can one such individual have so much authority in the County and make such a final statement?".
28 June 2006
Read the article ...