Lib Dems urged to ‘look again’ at transport plans

The Lib Dem Cabinet on Bath and North East Somerset Council has been asked to do further work on proposals to radically scale-back plans to improve Bath’s transport infrastructure.

Conservative Councillors have raised concerns that the Liberal Democrats’ proposals risk losing the chance of Government investment and would leave Bath without a proper strategy for tackling congestion and delivering economic growth. Conservatives have also said they are concerned that despite the package being cut down, the Lib Dems are still proposing to spend £17.8 million of the Council’s own money on the package – the same figure as under the previous plans.

At a B&NES Council meeting this week, Conservative Councillors tabled an Amendment asking for the Cabinet to seek the views of the independent Bath Transport Commission and Urban Regeneration Panel before proceeding with its final bid for Government funding. The Amendment was not carried after Labour Councillors abstained on both the Conservative Amendment and the Lib Dems’ plans.

Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Tim Warren, said:

“We understand that elements of the Transport Package were controversial, but it is simply not acceptable is to scale back the plans so drastically with no alternatives in place. Bath needs a transport plan to get the city moving and tackle our worsening congestion and pollution problems. It beggars belief that the Liberal Democrats had no alternative transport plan in mind when they opposed the previous one.

“As they stand, the Lib Dems’ plans risk losing out on Government investment, whilst jeopardising economic growth and new housing delivery. Conservative Councillors are asking the Lib Dem Cabinet to look again at their current proposals and work with the independent Transport Commission to draw up plans which will secure Government funding, private sector investment, and deliver a transport system which works for Bath.”

Cllr Charles Gerrish, the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Resources, said:

“Despite criticising the cost of the previous plans and significantly reducing the scope the package, the Lib Dems still plan to spend nearly £18 million of the Council’s own money, the same amount as was planned before. This cannot be right. If the package is reduced, the cost to local taxpayers should be reduced as well.”