£700 A Week Bill for Lendal Bridge Legal Costs
12:14pm 25th July 2014
York Council has been paying £700 a week for legal advice in it's appeal against a ruling by a government traffic judge that it was unlawful for the authority to issue fines at Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.
Opposition Lib Dems in the city got hold of the figures and say the total bill has come to £11,330. York Council has since confirmed the accuracy of the figures to Minster FM.
Lib Dem opposition leader Keith Aspden said:
“It is deeply concerning that Labour is spending taxpayers’ money in this way. The legal challenge has been costing taxpayers’ £700 a week since the process began at the start of April. We already know that a lot of this has been completely wasted as Labour has dropped its appeal over the botched Lendal Bridge trial and agreed to repay the motorists fined.
“In April the Labour Council said they were confident of winning the Lendal Bridge appeal. Last week they abruptly dropped the challenge after a behind-closed-doors meeting. I have asked for an explanation as to what changed and what legal advice was given between April and July. The public has a right to know.
“I also think the Council Leader has serious questions to answer. He has spent public money in a failed attempt to defend his Cabinet’s flawed decision to close Lendal Bridge. He needs to justify why he did this. Last week, when I called for him to resign over his handling of the Lendal Bridge trial he chose not to defend his actions during the debate at Full Council. I hope this week he will at least try a little harder to explain his actions to residents.”
But a spokesman for the council's ruling York Labour group responded saying:
"York Liberal Democrats arguing the council should not seek legal advice is irresponsible. It is also hypocritical for York Liberal Democrats to argue about waste when they wasted millions on Hungate and still left it derelict, the purple FTR buses, the proposal for another Council office in Acomb and more.
“We hope they engage in the cross-party congestion commission and work in partnership to find solutions to York's congestion problems that will not go away. Arguing consistently for the status quo is not an option”.
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