A legal challenge has been today submitted by the Liberal Democrats under the council’s constitution over Cabinet’s approval of a £17 million contribution towards the Javelin Park incinerator.
Liberal Democrats are also questioning the lack of transparency with regards to the revised UBB contract that Cabinet has now authorised the Director of Communities and Infrastructure to agree and sign before negotiations have been completed.
The legal challenge known as a ‘call-in’ will halt the signing of the revised contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) until members of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee can meet to review the process.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said:
“I am appalled that we’re in a situation where this council is giving a further £17million of tax-payers money to Urbaser Balfour Beatty for this project.
“The rising costs of the project have been down to Tory recklessness and incompetence and now they’re expecting county residents to pay.
“The Tory cabinet has pushed ahead with this project regardless of public opinion. I’ve asked a question about the cost of UBB’s gate fees, but Cabinet Member, Cllr. Ray Theodoulou has refused to give an answer.
“The blatant lack of transparency has led many to be suspicious of the true costs of building such a facility in Gloucestershire and Cllr. Theodoulou’s refusal to answer straight-forward questions has left us no choice, but to challenge this decision.”
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Chris Coleman (LD: St Marks and St Peters) who is also the Cabinet Member for Clean and Green Environment on Cheltenham Borough Council said:
“This council is taking a huge reputational and financial risk and it’ll be the tax-payers who will bear the brunt. The Conservatives have had plenty of opportunity to do the right thing and stop this unwanted and grossly expensive scheme.
“Across the county, residents know that there are other technologies that are better for the environment, health and the economy but time and again the Conservatives have ignored these alternative ways to deal with waste.
“It is a ludicrous and never ending saga that is seeing taxpayers money literally going up in smoke.”