Questions over why councillors abstained in Hereford bypass vote

A HEREFORD councillor is asking why six members abstained from voting on the decision to cancel the western bypass and southern link road.

Herefordshire Council voted this week to axe the two controversial road schemes and remove them from their capital program.

A total of 27 councillors voted to axe the schemes, while 19 voted against and six abstained.

Because councillors did not call for a named vote, the ballot was secret, and the council says it does not have a record of which way each member voted.

It is understood that most of the Independent, It’s Our County and Green Party coalition administration voted to drop the road projects with support from True Independents.

The 13 Conservatives are believed to have voted to save the bypass along with support from Liberal Democrats.

However, it is unclear which way councillors voted for certain and Redhill ward councillor Paul Rone asked why six of them chose to abstain on one of the most important issues facing the county.

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“The decision made by full council to cancel the bypass as well as the South Wye Transport package goes against what I campaign for, especially considering my ward of Redhill, but the decision has been made democratically,” he said.

“My concern is that with all the opportunity to debate, with all the documents to read, all the consultants’ information and professional opinions to refer to as well as our officers, with all their knowledge and accessibility for discussion and explanations, fellow councillors chose to abstain from the decision-making process.

“Even after having years to engage with their constituents and gain invaluable feedback, they still could not make a decision about the most important issue most of them will ever face.

“There is now way to know who voted in which way, we used to have a show of hands, but now it’s a tap of a button.

“A question to my fellow councillors, on such an important issue, why did you choose not to take pat in a decision such as this that affects the whole county?”

Hereford Times