Berwick Town Council’s decision to take up leadership of the Portas project has been heavily criticised by the deputy mayor.
Councillor Georgina Hill felt there had been a “lack of transparency” over the decision to take on the role previously held by the town team.
The invitation from Northumberland County Council to take the lead role was discussed in private by the town council’s finance committee.
But Coun Hill said: “Seven people were asked to accept the invitation, but only three said ‘yes’.
“The rest of us felt something as important as this should be adopted by an open forum of the council and all the members should have been consulted properly in a public way. Three out of 16 agreeing to this decision is not the town council.
“I am very unhappy about it. It makes me feel very uncomfortable that the whole town council was not consulted. It’s a lack of transparency.”
However, Coun John Robertson said the finance committee was worried the £200,000 Portas prize secured last year might be lost.
He said: “We were told that if we were not prepared to take it on board, the Portas money would be pulled and taken by Northumberland County Council. We, as town councillors, felt it was important to ensure the money remained in the town rather than in County Hall.”
But Coun Hill responded: “The fact of the matter is the town clerk got a letter from the chief executive on September 3. The day after that we had an informal meeting, then an environment and regeneration and still heard nothing. This has gone on behind closed doors.”
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