Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Anger as debate over free bus passes is halted

13:19 12 December 2012

David Wood

David Wood

Archant

OPPOSITION councillors and disability campaigners were left furious after Suffolk County Council’s cabinet confirmed its controversial time limit on free bus passes for people with disabilities without a debate.

shares

The issue was on the agenda at yesterday’s cabinet meeting after a previous decision was referred back by the council’s scrutiny committee.

However the debate on the previous item had taken longer than expected to discuss – and the councillor with responsibility for transport, Guy McGregor, had another vital meeting to attend.

So after outlining the council’s legal position and a brief speech from fellow cabinet member Colin Noble, council leader Mark Bee called for a vote on the issue.

Normally other councillors, including opposition members, would be able to speak before the vote was taken.

The whole item was dealt with by the cabinet in less than 15 minutes.

A furious Labour Group leader Sandy Martin said: “Why have I come here? I had no chance to raise my concern.”

And official opposition leader David Wood from the Liberal Democrats was seething: “I am disgusted by what happened here today. I expected better of them.

“It shows contempt for democracy. We had a number of items we wanted to raise and were prevented from saying anything.”

Linda Hoggarth from Optua Training which works with people with disabilities said she felt she had been cheated out of having a say on the issue.

She said: “I contacted the committee clerk and was told to put my concerns to my councillor. I talked to him, and although he was unable to come today, he passed my questions to David Wood who was going to raise them.

“I’ve wasted my time coming here today.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, said: “Today cabinet was asked to decide on the future of the concessionary travel scheme based on additional information gathered since it was last considered.

“The key question was whether or not they felt able to make a decision in light of this new information. They felt they were.

“No one has been denied an opportunity to influence the decision because this issue has been through full council, cabinet and scrutiny, and subject to a public consultation, in the last 17 months.

“Indeed many councillors and services users used these opportunities to make their views know. They were all taken into consideration when making this difficult final decision.”

The vote by the committee means that people with disabilities will continue to only be able to use their free bus passes on services after 9.30am.

shares

0 comments

Bradley Wiggins, far left, riding through Woodbridge during the first stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain spectators will get to see champion rider Sir Bradley Wiggins racing through Suffolk again when it comes to county this month.

Ipswich Town have brought in 12 new players this summer.

The summer transfer window has now closed, during which Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy brought in a total of 12 new signings on permanent or loan deals.

A man has died at The Port of Felixstowe.

Investigators say their inquiries into the death of a contract worker at the Port of Felixstowe could take some time to complete.

Police are investigating

Further instances of vehicle crime were felt in Kesgrave on Sunday night after a car window was smashed, prompting a social media appeal for those with information to come forward.

Art on the Prom at Felixstowe last year

More than 100 artists will be exhibiting this weekend as Felixstowe stages one of its most popular events of the year.

One of the new metal art trees in bury has been damaged. St Andrew's Street South.

A metal sculpture in a central Bury St Edmunds street now resembles a dandelion blowing in the wind following an accident involving a truck.

Police at the scene of the alleged attack.

The jury in the trial of two men accused of being involved in a plot to throw acid over a 22-year-old Suffolk beautician has retired to consider its verdicts.

A large farming trailer carrying potatoes has overturned on the B1102 between Freckenham and Worlington.

The B1102 in Freckenham is blocked after a trailer load of potatoes overturned.

The opening of the new petanque bowls piste at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew - Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Phillip Dunnett with parish clerk and member of the centre committee Debbi Tayler

More than 30 people turned out for the opening of a boules rink at The Riverside Centre on Saturday.

Mr Wilson

Fire crews put out a car fire in Clacton today after passers by rescued a dog from the vehicle.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages