Following the rejection of questions that residents wished to ask at the next county council meeting, the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have accused the leadership of the council of attempting to cover up the findings of the audit investigation into the tenancy of council-owned Manor Farm, Girton held by former Tory councillor Roger Hickford.
Brian Milnes, a Lib Dem district councillor for Sawston, which Roger Hickford used to represent on the county council, said,
“I have been following this issue with great concern for over two years. It has always astonished me that Roger Hickford was appointed to very powerful positions while he was being investigated. He was appointed to the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which controls £500 million of funds for infrastructure investment, and he sat on the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, which oversees the county-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to ask Cllr Steve Count, the Conservative Leader of the county council, what he knew about the allegations against Roger Hickford and why he made these appointments. It is a basic principle of accountability that our council leaders have to explain their decision to the public. And the best place for that is at a council meeting. Cllr Count has not yet accounted for his actions. He should not appear to be hiding behind legal loopholes to prevent that happening.”
Cllr Brian Milnes
Geoff Seeff, a resident of St Neots and a Lib Dem candidate in the forthcoming county council elections, said,
“The Leader of the council has not yet clearly stated that the report in Manor Farm should be published. Regardless of details of what’s in the report - which we don’t yet know - I’m concerned about the principle of transparency in the way that the leadership of the council deals with these matter of great public interest.
“If Cllr Count is not willing to answer my question at a council meeting, then I put it to him now: does he or does he not agree that the report should be published? Does he adhere to the principles of openness and accountability that he signed up to when he became a councillor?
“The public has a right to expect better of our representatives. The residents of Cambridgeshire will not let the Tories who are running the county council in such a disgraceful way off the hook.”
Candidate Geoff Seeff