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20mph Parish Poll costs Ilkley over £40k

Cowpasture Road in Ilkley where speed cushion have been installed

Ilkley Town Council has learnt that the cost of the Parish Poll to challenge the 20mph scheme will cost the council over £40,000, money that will come out of the ‘local pot’.

The poll was voted for by residents attending a town meeting called for by the Ilkley Road Safety Action Group (IRSAG) last October held at the King’s Hall.

34.71% of Ilkley electors voted in the Parish Poll, with the majority voting no to the planned Bradford Council scheme to introduce a town wide 20mph speed restriction with traffic calming. The result of the poll was non-binding and Bradford Council has started implementing the scheme.

Ilkley Town Council had pledged £87,500 to Bradford Council towards the scheme.

At this month’s full Ilkley Town Council meeting, councillors were told the total cost would be £44,637.24, much more that the £30,000 that had been estimated.

Ilkley Mayor, Cllr Karl Milner, who had called it a ‘Zombie Poll’ said: “IRSAG and the Tory councillors who backed them were told several times how much this would cost and that the poll was pointless as the decision had been made. They refused to listen to that and in a red-mist put an extra 50% on to price we have paid to Bradford for the 20mph scheme.  What a ridiculous waste of everyone else’s money. The least they should do is apologise to local tax payers.”

Councillors resolved at the meeting to ask Bradford Council for a breakdown of costs in relation to the scheme.

Cllr Steve Butler on behalf of the Conservative councillors on the town council said: "The invoice received from Bradford MDC for last year’s Parish Poll is for £44,637.24 (including VAT of £3,398.85) so the Town Council will have to pay a maximum of £41,238.39. 

"Although the Conservative councillors on the Town Council did not call the Parish Poll, we entirely support the right of our electorate to do so.  If the residents had been listened to properly the Parish Poll would not have been demanded. It took place because the Town Mayor used his casting vote to go against the wishes of the majority of our residents who clearly opposed the proposed scheme for a town-wide 20mph zone and speed humps.  It is shameful that the results of the consultation process, the voices of residents who attended the largest meetings ever organised by the Town Council and the results of the Parish Poll have all been ignored.  The Conservative councillors will query why the cost of the Poll was so high but feel that this is just the price to be paid when democracy is ignored."

James Stretton from IRDAG said the group would respond once the breakdown of costs had been made public.


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