Angry councillors delay transport decisions due to continued county council representation no-show

Chairman Mave Saunders said she could not understand why an officer was not present again

Angry councillors at a joint transportation board meeting last night (October 12) are refusing to approve any more Kent County Council road schemes until an officer turns up at meetings.

The board is a forum for county and district councillors to discuss highway issues. But since the covid pandemic there has been no attendance from county council officers.

Last night members were due to approve a public consultation over measures to be taken in Northdown Road which include parking bay changes, enlarged footpath with a new pedestrian crossing and other alterations to improve pedestrian safety.

During the past ten years, up until March 2021, there were 49 collisions in the area reported to the police where a pedestrian was injured.

The KCC proposal is to make improvements aimed to reduce risks caused by the road  and path layout.

But members on the board last night said it was impossible to move forward with no county council officer present to answer questions about the scheme.

Chairman Mave Saunders said: “It stems from covid (but) we are all here, why officers can’t be here I don’t understand.”

Cllr Linda Wright, who is a member for KCC, suggested an upgrade to Thanet council’s system to allow officers to attend remotely.

However, members were told Thanet could not live stream for the public and host a stream for remote attendance at the same time and any upgrade would come at “substantial” cost.

There was also confusion over whether officers had a choice to attend or whether KCC Cabinet member for transport, David Brazier, had told them not to.

Cllr Barry Lewis, who is county council member, said: “The Cabinet member does  not want to instruct members to come to the meeting. It is nothing to do with the individuals, they have been instructed not to come.”

Cllr Trevor Shonk, a Conservative KCC member, said: “The committee sitting here and residents deserve to be listened to. It is appalling that the Cabinet member of my own party is not in the real world.

“We all come and try and get issues resolved and we are just hitting a brick wall.”

Cllr Saunders said she could see no reason for the continued non-attendance, saying: “Why can’t they come? We are all sitting here. Covid? We are not sitting here with masks on. This is a joint transportation meeting and they should be here. We are all upset and annoyed and do not seem to be able to do anything about it.”

Cllr Derek Crow-Brown said one reason given was the time needed to travel but it was pointed out the KCC officer in question lived just “three miles up the road.”

Cllr Rob Yates suggested  making a complaint about the continued non-attendance and Cllr Phil Fellows moved a decision for the committee to agree “not to progress any KCC items on the agenda if no-one wants to come and talk about it.”

Committee members agreed to defer, with reservations, the remaining items at the meeting including the Northdown Road consultation and to make the KCC Cabinet member and KCC leader Roger Gough aware of why that decision was taken.

It will mean the Northdown Road safety improvements are delayed until a county council officer attends a Joint Transportation Board meeting.

Works planned to improve driver and pedestrian safety in Northdown Road


  1. Kent county councillor cabinet member David brazier has caused this impasse due to his instructions to kcc officers not to attend meetings. We need an officer to attend to explain issues.this is about how local democracy works .

  2. This is ludicrous and shows how reactionary is the Tory-led KCC. The excuse for not holding an online meeting is feeble. As noted, there are progressive and other county councillors who could easily attend. This is sabotage of democracy. About time they were done away with , and an East Kent Unitary Authority created instead

  3. Unbelievable – Tories fighting like ferrets in a sack. However it’s the people of Thanet who suffer from this tomfoolery. We desperately need massive improvements to the roads and footpaths, we need more “20’s Plenty” schemes and action on places like St Peters Estate where the roads haven’t been resurfaced since 1954! Yet all we get is two local Tory councils biting lumps out of each other. The case for a Unitary authority for Thanet / East Kent is now unanswerable.

  4. KCC is showing extraordinary disrespect . The head of KCC should explain why his staff are failing in their duty. Does this happen in other parts of Kent?

  5. It’s obvious that these so called councillors can’t do their jobs,so why are they being paid, and being paid good money.
    Get rid of them, and get people who can do the job properly.
    They are a waist of time and money.

  6. Part of councillors JOB is to question decisions made by officers. If they do NOT turn up how can we come to correct decisions?

    • Its appalling Barry what is happening especially as i know as former Chair of JTB many safety issues are raised by Cllrs on behalf of worried residents .
      It has made the JTB inaffective 😒

  7. Schemes have been implemented without any local consultation and disregard for local views. Ie traffic calming St Peter’s road, it’s dangerous and without merit ie no casualties. KCC are able to implement schemes without consultation if it’s under road safety (there words not mine) so I’m sure they will do what they want anyway so Northdown Road be careful what you wish for as it won’t be what you want or expect. And don’t forget it will be for a trial period which never fails to be removed due to cost

    • Totally agree – officers make proposals without asking the people who know and without hard evidence then expect elected members to approve them in the officers absence! Are they willfully ducking scrutiny and accountability?
      Note also in the article ‘Last night members were due to approve…’ – not ‘..due to consider..’. Seems there’s an expectation that everything goes through on the nod, regardless.

      • I get consultation emails from KCC regularly mainly for roads and a few other areas, there is one which is giving concern to the Dane Park area about a crossing,speed calming and yellow lines, its around the safety factor of where its to be situated, I have as well as some of the residents in that area raised concerns about it not that it effects me personally but I lived close to the park and witnessed 3 incidents in the exact place they propose it to be its a blind spot and it won’t stop cars in particular driven fast and dangerously, there’s a real need for a crossing etc but needs to be in a safe place not a blind spot.i hope that a solution is found but I think it will just be put wherever KCC want it regardless.

  8. Let me think about that. Councilors publicly named and shamed the officer previously and slagged him off in public for now turning up and they’re surprised that he still isn’t showing up ?

  9. It’s ludicrous all this it’s his fault no its their fault, backwards and forwards two and fro your all supposed to be working for us who elected you to do something that you each said you would like to do, does anyone of you councillors involved in this fiasco got any idea of how ridiculous it is, the two councils are tory led by the look of it the our councillors are behaving as bad as the government is mind you it doesn’t supprise me, get your act together and get things moving remember elections are not far off.

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