NI Council lambasted over secrecy as member refused sight of Craigavon Masterplan

An Alliance councillor has lashed out at his own council - Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon - accusing it of secrecy after he was refused sight of its South Lakes Masterplan.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 3:45 pm

The secret Masterplan has been sought after for several years with many groups and activists keen to get a copy.

Alliance Councillor Eóin Tennyson, who was elected last May to the new council, says he also has been unable to see a copy of the Masterplan.

He called for an end to secrecy as Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council appeal a ruling by the Information Commission requiring the release of the South Lake Masterplan.

Speaking after the Alliance group on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council once again requested the release of the document, Eóin said: “The Council’s ongoing refusal to place the South Lake Masterplan in the public realm falls far short of the standard of open and transparent governance citizens in our borough rightly expect.

“It is totally unacceptable that – despite our numerous requests – even elected representatives have not been given sight of the document.

“In June 2019, the Information Commission ruled that Council had not applied the regulations for withholding information correctly, and ordered release of the document within 35 calendar days,” said Cllr Tennyson.

“What’s more concerning is that Council then took a backroom decision to appeal this ruling, without consulting elected representatives,” he said.

“Alliance is committed to openness and transparency,” saidCllr Tennyson.

“In our view, fighting disclosure of a document that the public and their representatives ought to have had sight of from the outset is a wholly inappropriate and worrying use of ratepayer’s money,” said the councillor.

“We will continue to push for progress on this matter and hold ABC Council to account.”

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: “The Council is not in a position to comment given that this matter is subject to ongoing active legal proceedings.”