CONCERNS have been raised about attempts to stop councillors from sharing information about active travel schemes being put forward by BCP Council.

Emails sent to councillors with details of projects planned in their wards have all asked that the information be kept “confidential”.

Councillor Drew Mellor, the leader of the Conservative opposition, said it amounted to “banning” councillors from discussing proposals with the public.

A number of schemes have been – or are being – introduced by the council through the government’s emergency active travel fund which has seen it awarded more than £1.5 million.

Concerns have been raised about many of the proposals and that people who would be most affected by them have not been consulted.

Earlier this month the council scrapped plans to block part of East Overcliff Drive in Bournemouth to through-traffic due to a backlash from hoteliers in the area.

And opposition Conservative councillors have said this could have been avoided had greater consultation been carried out before schemes were announced and criticised attempts to prevent them sharing information with the public.

Emails sent out to councillors have requested that information be "kept confidential" and that it is "not distributed further to avoid confusion with the corporate communications currently being prepared".

"We are amazed that Vikki Slade, let alone her transport portfolio holder [councillor Andy Hadley], can be so opposed to any form of consultation with the public that they would overrule officers’ recommendations to consult and go far enough to attempt to ban councillor colleagues from discussing these schemes with their residents,” their leader, councillor Drew Mellor, said.

“This is the least transparent council I have ever seen and you have to question how long the independent or Boscombe Labour members will continue to have confidence in this anti-consultation, anti-car, dogma-driven liberal alliance."

The council’s cabinet will be asked to retrospectively approve the schemes it has implemented when it meets on September 9.

A report published ahead of the meeting says the seven-day timeframe within which projects had to be put together meant consultation could only be carried out with Cllr Hadley before they had to be submitted.

"Due to the scale of the task and short timescale, officers were only able to consult with the portfolio holder for transport during the latter stages of the process close to the submission date and it was not possible to meet cabinet timescales for reporting or to facilitate wider cabinet or ward member engagement," it says.

The council did not comment on the concerns raised by Cllr Mellor that ward councillors had been “banned” from discussing projects with the public.