Concern over future of Transport decisions in Norwich after committee abolished

JH
27 Sep 2023

The Transport for Norwich committee, made up of local councillors from Norwich and the surrounding area, has been abolished by the Conservative cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Graham Plant. This means that decisions over transport, like road-building and bus regulation, in our area will be made behind closed doors by a select few. Crucially, the public will be even further shut out from decision-making processes in their own city, often involving tens of millions of public money.

It is a disgraceful decision that makes a mockery of accountability and due scrutiny, key democratic principles. Rightly, Mr Plant has drawn cross-party criticism and denouncement from the press.

Leader of the Lib Dems on Norfolk County Council, Brian Watkins, said:

It's a disgrace. They're shutting down the views of those best placed to represent the views of people in their local communities. Norwich residents should expect that such discussions are taken in public, and not behind closed doors.

Cllr Brian Watkins, Leader of the Lib Dems on Norfolk County Council

Later, Lib Dem University Ward spokesperson James Hawketts presented a public question to Norwich City Council asking if Labour condoned the Conservatives' decision and asking what the Labour administration's response to these developments would be. Responding to the answer he was given he said:

Credit where credit is due, I'm happy to see Labour seem as upset by these developments as we are, and that the administration is taking steps to protest them. They can count on our support in doing so. Even so, I can't help but feel that perhaps Cllr Plant wouldn't have been as able to strip the TfN committee of its powers had the behaviour of Labour members on that committee been more forthcoming.

James Hawketts, Lib Dem University Ward Spokesperson

Several months ago a Transport for Norwich meeting had to be abandoned after the Labour participants walked out after 10 minutes. They were protesting the presence of a stand-in chair for the meeting, after the original one was unavoidably detained. In his justification for scrapping the committee last week, Mr Plant implied it had become dysfunctional in recent times. 

You can see the footage of James' question to the city council here: