Football probe pointless says review committee chair

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 14 March 2014 Updated: 14/03 10:48

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THE CHAIR of the committee tasked with reviewing council decisions has questioned the point of continuing to investigate football provision in the borough.

Coun David Bush, chair of overview and scrutiny at Redditch Borough Council, made the comments after a meeting where two Labour group councillors criticised the Conservatives’ attack on their budget.

At the last executive meeting, both Coun Greg Chance and Coun John Fisher mentioned the Tories had supported Redditch United’s application to move to a site in Washford.

The ruling Labour group made the decision not to financially back the move but a task and a finish group was set up, comprising overview and scrutiny councillors, to look at the overall provision of football across Redditch and how the club could be supported.

But Coun Bush said he was ‘concerned’ the decision had already been made not to act on the findings when the group presents its recommendations later this year.

“We could potentially be wasting our time on the football task and finish group. To have two comments I find a little bit upsetting,” he said.

“I would like overview and scrutiny to write to Bill [Hartnett] as leader to get his assurance there is still going to be due consideration given to the task and finish. If the decision has been made we need to be realistic and not waste officers’ time.”

Both Coun Pat Witherspoon and Coun Andy Fry - the Labour group’s whip and chair - said no decision had been made.

Coun Fry said: “The council is waiting for the result of the overview and scrutiny panel. I think you can interpret it any way you want, that’s up to you. But the Labour group has not made any other decision than what went through executive.”

Coun Pat Witherspoon added: “No decision has been made as far as I’m aware. My understanding is this overview and scrutiny committee has a job to do, and that job is to look at football provision across the authority.

“We have given you our assurance.”

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