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Highways change is ‘just political’
6:00am Monday 16th December 2013 in Echo News
PLANS to bring in more Tory councillors to decide changes to roads in Basildon has been branded “blatant political manipulation”.
Essex County Council’s highways boss Rodney Bass wants to change the existing panel to put borough councillors to its Basildon local highways panel.
The panel makes recommendations and sets priorities for highways in the borough.
It is presently made up of nine county councillors – three Tories, three Labour and three Ukip.
The move would mean there would be five Tories on the board as well as two Labour and one Ukip party member.
Kerry Smith, Ukip county councillor for Westley Heights, who sits on the panel, said it would be undemocratic.
In a leaked e-mail to Rodney Bass, Mr Smith said: “This is no more than a blatant and very transparent attempt at political manipulation.
“The Tories are taking over something they have not been elected to do. Basildon Council should stick to Basildon Council issues.”
Mr Bass declined to comment on the highways panel while discussions were ongoing.
But, in an e-mail leaked to the Echo, Mr Bass said: “The Basildon local highways panel is not currently an effective partnership with Basildon Council and I am going to change it so that it is.”
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