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This morning Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney cut the ribbon to open the new Lidl store in Kingswood town centre. The store, in Hall Road, will also offer 199 free parking spaces.

Pat_Rooney_Lidl.jpg

Speaking at the opening, Councillor Rooney said:

“I am very pleased to welcome this brand new Lidl store into Kingswood. It will attract more people into our town centre, which will boost our economy and other local shops and businesses. I wish it every success.”

Kingswood’s councillors have been actively engaged in helping to revitalise the local business association in recent months.

Pat opens new Kingswood store

This morning Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney cut the ribbon to open the new Lidl store in Kingswood town centre. The store, in Hall Road, will also offer 199...

South Gloucestershire’s Conservative leader has stood by his criticism of an election in August, which Labour says shows that his party is running scared of voters.

Back in the summer, Labour moved an election for two vacancies – previously held by a Liberal Democrat and an Independent – that had occurred on Dodington Parish Council. The Tory leader publicly criticised this exercise in democracy, arguing that the council could have appointed replacements instead.
 
At the election, which was held on 24 August, Labour gained one of the seats on offer. As the party had no representation before, it is unlikely that the council’s existing members would have permitted Labour representation.
 
At South Gloucestershire Council’s meeting on Wednesday, Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney asked the Tory chief to state his preferred method for filling council vacancies. When pressed he asserted that the by election had cost taxpayers’ money and the positions could have been filled by the existing councillors.
 
Not all of the district’s Conservatives agree with this approach, however. Tories on Oldland Parish chose to trigger a by election when two vacancies occurred in its Wraxall ward, despite holding a majority on that council.
 
Pat_Rooney_standard_portrait.jpgCouncillor Rooney comments:
 
“Democratic engagement with the voters does cost money, but I firmly believe that council representatives should be elected, not appointed. In the case of Dodington this summer, the council had no Labour representation previously but the voters chose to elect a Labour councillor when given the opportunity.
 
With the state of the Conservative party at the moment, I am not surprised that its leaders are running scared of voters and want to avoid elections.”

Labour says Tories running scared of voters

South Gloucestershire’s Conservative leader has stood by his criticism of an election in August, which Labour says shows that his party is running scared of voters.

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are challenging the culture of concealment at the Tory-run council after local campaigners released Freedom of Information evidence that council officials had suggested that problems with a housing development could be ‘fudged’.

Campaigners from Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development shared the evidence at the Council meeting last night, and this was the first time that opposition Labour councillors had seen it. Labour called for an adjournment to consider the correspondence, and it was only then that the ruling Tories were forced to attempt an explanation.

Now Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney has written to the Chief Executive asking for a frank discussion on the way the council shares information with councillors.

Pat_Civic_Centre.jpgCouncillor Rooney says:

“Labour councillors are shocked and angry to discover what officials had been saying, and that we had to find out from members of the public. This has further dented our confidence in the way the council is operating under the Tories. It is reminiscent of a major row we had over Filton Airfield in 2011 when internal information only came to light because of a FOI request.

The Conservatives desperately scrambled to supply some sort of explanation only after they had been exposed publicly, by sharing information that they had been sitting on for a month. This secrecy reveals yet again that there is a culture of concealment at the council. I thank the Thornbury campaigners for the revelation without which we would still be in the dark.

I have today written to the Chief Executive requesting a discussion on the internal sharing of information with opposition councillors. It is unacceptable that we should have to find out critical information about our own council from members of the public.”

Labour challenges culture of concealment

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are challenging the culture of concealment at the Tory-run council after local campaigners released Freedom of Information evidence that council officials had suggested that problems...

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