Public excluded from buses debate

MEMBERS of the borough will get their first chance to have a say on the proposed sale of Ipswich Buses next week.But the public will not be able to hear them - the debate will be heard behind closed doors.

IPSWICH: Members of the borough will get their first chance to have a say on the proposed sale of Ipswich Buses next week.

But the public will not be able to hear them - the debate will be heard behind closed doors.

The proposed sale will be discussed by the borough's executive committee on Tuesday. The discussion will be on the “closed” section of the agenda because details of financial negotiations will be discussed.

The Evening Star revealed just after Christmas that the borough was aiming to sell its bus company to transport giant Go Ahead.

Details of the negotiations have not been released - it is not clear whether the borough will sell the whole company or just a sizeable stake. No details of the price being discussed by Go Ahead have been revealed.

Borough deputy leader John Carnall, who has led the discussions with Go Ahead, said the decision to hold the debate in secret had not been made by politicians.

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He said: “This is a matter that the lawyers have had to decide because of the nature of the business to be discussed - it is not a political decision to keep things secret.”

Mr Carnall said he hoped the discussions about the future of the bus company would be concluded “as soon as possible.”

The Star understands that the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration at Grafton House is keen to seal the deal before the May 6 elections when it is possible that Labour could win back power at the borough - and would then try to reverse any sale.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere said: “It is disgraceful that such an important and controversial decision is being decided in secret by Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors.

“Ipswich Buses is owned by the people of Ipswich. They should know what is being done in their name.”