WILTSHIRE Council has been criticised for choosing not to disclose details of the failure of Balfour Beatty’s maintenance contract, which will end prematurely next year.
Liberal Democrats and independent councillors called for an inquiry into the circumstances of the contract termination when it was announced last month.
However, at a full council meeting last week, councillors voted against the inquiry and opted instead to conduct an internal report.
Leader of Wiltshire’s Liberal Democrats, Jon Hubbard, hit out at the Conservative council.
Cllr Hubbard said, “This behaviour from the administration is shocking; it is a flagrant attempt to cover up the failures of the Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) contract.
“The people of Wiltshire deserve a full, independent and public enquiry to make sure this is never allowed to happen again.
“The scrutiny process can be very effective for holding the administration to account, however with a contract of this size an independent enquiry is absolutely vital. The Conservative councillors are very good at doing what the administration tells them, and I am disappointed they are unwilling to do more for their local residents.”
Independent councillor Terry Chivers also slated councillors for their conduct. Cllr Chivers said, “Just what are Wiltshire Council trying to hide over the failed BBLP highway contract? Once again at a full council meeting Conservative councillors voted to block a full investigation into just what went wrong.
“The residents and tax-payers of Wiltshire deserve to know what went wrong with this contract, but local Conservative councillors are refusing to allow them to get one.”
The contract with Balfour Beatty, who are responsible for highway maintenance, grass-cutting, and street lighting across the county, was supposed to last for five years from 2013 to 2018.
However, it was announced in September that the firm, whose quality of work has been criticised in recent years, had reached a mutual agreement with Wiltshire Council to end the arrangement in March 2016.
Wiltshire’s Liberal Democrats have again called on the council’s administration to provide an honest account of the contract and its problems.