Bootle Labour councillor John Fairclough’s decision to refuse the unanimous request of the Southport Area Committee to modify the Rufford Road/Bankfield Lane speed humps will stand unaltered. The request to modify the scheme was also backed by a nearly 3000-strong petition. But, at Sefton Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Labour Councillors turned down a request to ask the Council’s Cabinet Member (Transportation) to ‘look again” at his decision to refuse the Southport councillors’ request.
Meols Ward Lib Dem Councillor Nigel Ashton addressed the Committee about the reasons why he and his colleagues Councillors John Dodd and David Rimmer had ‘called in’ the original decision. A Rufford Road resident was also permitted to explain residents’ concerns. He told the councillors that residents were not against road safety measures but felt that the particular form of this scheme had thrown up problems which needed to be addressed.
Councillor Ashton pointed out that the original consultation over the hump installations was flawed:
There had been no consultation of the residents of the thirteen cul-de-sacs off Rufford Road and Bankfield Lane, to whose homes these roads were the only route. There were more of these residents than there were people living directly on the roads concerned.
There had been no input into the original decision from the bus company Arriva, who were against the humps as they stood, pointing out how they made bus travel less comfortable and damaged vehicles over a period of time
He also pointed out that the scale of the petition and the unanimity of the Southport Area Committee across party lines showed the extent of the overwhelming feeling of the people affected and their democratic residents. He felt that views presented on this scale were unprecedented and deserved a hearing.
Southport Lib Dem Councillor Tony Dawson, moved the motion to refer the decision back to the Cabinet Member for further consideration. He said that the residents of Rufford Road, who were reporting structural and noise problems, needed to have their evidence considered by the Cabinet Member, which had not happened when the original decision was taken. There was also the issue of the Arriva bus company’s concerns which had not been addressed.
The proposal to have the matter reconsidered was lost by 5 votes to 3,
Councillor John Dodd, who also attended the meeting, said:
“We are very dsappointed that one councillor from Bootle can decide what’s good for us when all 21 Southport Councillors take a different view. You have to ask: “What price democracy?”
“The problem is that Bootle labour now run the show completely. Not only have they seized all seven Cabinet positions but Bootle Labour councillors hold 5 out of the 7 senior committee chaairmanships.”
“Never mind Southport, not even Formby, Crosby or Maghull are getting much of a look-in.”
Picture: Cllr John Dodd explains the Rufford Road humps issue on Granada TV.