Councillors slammed for failing to attend key transport meeting - meaning it could not go ahead

No-show regional leaders have been criticised for failing to properly hold North East transport bosses to account.

Picture c/o Pixabay
Picture c/o Pixabay

Two meetings in a row of the North East Joint Transport Committee Overview and Scrutiny Committee have been unable to complete any official business because too few councillors turned up.

The meeting on November 7 marked the second time in two months the panel, which is responsible for scrutinising travel infrastructure in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, has been deemed ‘inquorate’.

Just nine councillors from the seven council which are represented on the committee attended – two short of the 11 required.

“I’m advised we cannot agree the minutes [of the previous meeting] because we’re not quorate and I will write to some members because I’m a little disappointed about that,” said David Taylor-Gooby, the panel’s chairman, who is not a councillor.

“One of the members from Northumberland expresses interest in rural transport scheme last time and I did some research and sent it to him – he didn’t reply.

“It’s disappointing when a member would express interest and then not come, so I will write to members who are not here to remind them that by not attending they are impeding the business of the meeting.”

Today’s meeting at Gateshead Civic Centre was better attended than the committee’s previous meeting on September 19, which according to minutes was attended by just four councillors.

The session heard from finance chiefs who told the committee a recent assessment of Nexus’s pension fund had ‘considerably’ improved the Metro operator’s financial position, which is now on course to post a balanced budget for next year (2020/21) with just a ‘modest use of reserves’.