Safety audit is kept under wraps

PUBLISHED: 18:03 19 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 May 2010

BACKWELL residents are dismayed that a safety audit of traffic management proposals concerning a new recycling centre in the village is being kept under wraps until just before a crucial meeting. Villagers fear that when the civic amenity site, in Church

BACKWELL residents are dismayed that a safety audit of traffic management proposals concerning a new recycling centre in the village is being kept under wraps until just before a crucial meeting.Villagers fear that when the civic amenity site, in Church Town, opens to the public in October, road safety will be compromised and traffic congestion will result.North Somerset Council has come up with a range of measures in a bid to address their concerns and has asked consultants to produce a safety audit report on its proposals. Parish councillors in Backwell have asked to see the document, but they cannot examine it until five days before a meeting at which district councillors will vote on the recommendations. By then, it will be too late for the parish council to submit written comments on the report.Vice chairman of Backwell Parish Council and chairman of Backwell Residents' Association Tom Collinson said: "The parishioners of Backwell are appalled that, despite the Freedom of Information Act, the elected parish council has been told it is not entitled to see the report on the traffic management proposals until after all the paperwork for the meeting has been prepared."By then, it will be too late for us to comment on it, except verbally, during a three-minute time slot before the meeting, which is nowhere near long enough."It's a breakdown in democracy." A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: "Paperwork and reports are sent to committee members five days before meetings when they are also released to the media and interested parties."Anyone can address the committee for up to three minutes by attending the meeting."This is the normal protocol with regard to council meetings."District councillors are due to discuss the traffic management proposals at a meeting of the central area committee on August 17

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