Half a million pounds of tax-payers money ‘poured down the drain’ say County Lib Dems

December 1, 2016 7:48 PM

Street drain / double yellow lines / potholes

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have today fiercely attacked the County Council's Tory administration for spending over half a million pounds on a controversial bus scheme that has been stopped.

Earlier this month Gloucestershire County Council decided to withdraw from the £3.87 million scheme with its partner Stagecoach to build the A40 Gloucester Road westbound bus lane scheme at Benhall in Cheltenham. The proposed scheme was to construct a bus lane on the A40 westbound (outbound from Cheltenham) from the Tennyson Road junction to the traffic signals at GCHQ (Telstar Rd junction).

Cllr. Suzanne Williams (LD:Hesters Way and Springbank) said:

"Figures obtained by us show that the County Council spent a total of £542,026 on the A40 bus scheme prior to withdrawing.

"I am disappointed that the County Council did not consult Cheltenham Borough Council before proposing the final merged scheme in the first place and the decision taken to withdraw was also a complete bolt out of the blue.

"The total lack of consultation from start to finish has been unbelievable, but now hearing that over half a million of tax-payers money has been spent on a scheme that will no longer go ahead is on par to pouring money down the drain."

Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Group, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (LD: Bourton and Northleach) said:

"Hearing that the County Council will no longer be promoting this scheme, after spending so much, feels like money wasted.

"Half a million pounds is a huge amount of money. The reality is that this money could have been better spent on fixing our roads and pavements across Gloucestershire.

"People across Gloucestershire driving and cycling on our roads know too well that many areas are in dire need of real investment and quality repairs. The Conservatives have had 12 years to get our roads right. We are told that there isn't enough money to fix every pothole, but then we hear that half a million pounds has been spent on a scheme that has now been withdrawn - Shameful."

The scheme's full business case was due to be submitted to GFirst LEP's board for final funding approval later this year. The GFirst LEP will now decide how and when to reallocate the Growth Deal funding originally earmarked for the scheme.