Town hall chiefs paid out almost £6,000 for the independent report which recommended nothing should change on Blackpool’s Central Promenade, it was revealed today.
Opposition councillors have questioned the value of the survey by Manchester-based company Ove Arup and Partners after the council confirmed it paid £4,850, plus 20 per cent VAT for the report.
As reported by the Gazette on Monday, the report recommended that the route should be left as it is, calling concerns over congestion “anecdotal” and saying a return to a four lane highway was the “least attractive” option.
Coun Doug Green, the only Lib Dem on Blackpool Council, said: “I am in the position that if they change the Prom, it will be funded by taking money away from road maintenance in my part of the borough. But if they leave it as it is, it will not help my constituents wanting to get around the town.
“However looking to outside consultants for a solution is not the answer, and I think the cost of this report is wasted money.
“The council just needs to listen to locals – like the person who told me it took half an hour from Foxhall to the Tower on public transport.”
Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said: “It would be interesting to learn just what briefing the independent reviewers were given.
“Were the times of inspection laid out by the council and were inspectors aware of the issues raised by road users?
“I have driven down the Promenade recently at various times of the day and I do think the problems seem to have eased, although so called rush-hour problems do affect this, not just on the Prom but all over the town.”
Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways , said all views would be taken into account by the executive when it meets on Monday.
He said: “The idea of going out to consultation, and it was quite a large consultation, and listening to residents and road users was a real one.
“But we also wanted an independent report, and it was not a vastly expensive piece of work. When the executive meets, we will take everything on board.”