TOP bosses at the city council have spent £11,000 on lawyers fighting a legal battle over the Lendal Bridge and Coppergate closures.
Lawyers' advice has cost the council £11,330 in under four months, according to figures obtained by political opponents who have criticised what they call a waste of taxpayers money.
The Liberal Democrat group on City of York Council obtained the figures from senior officials, after asking how much the council had spent contesting a ruling by the traffic adjudicator on both Lendal Bridge and Coppergate, issued in early April.
They have condemned the spending as a waste of money now the appeal over Lendal Bridge has been dropped. Their criticisms have been rubbished by the Labour group who said it was irresponsible to suggest CYC ought not to have consulted legal experts.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “It is deeply concerning that Labour is spending taxpayers’ money in this way. The legal challenge has been costing taxpayers’ £700 a week since the process began at the start of April. We already know that a lot of this has been completely wasted as Labour has dropped its appeal over the botched Lendal Bridge trial and agreed to repay the motorists fined.
“In April the Labour Council said they were confident of winning the Lendal Bridge appeal. Last week they abruptly dropped the challenge after a behind-closed-doors meeting. I have asked for an explanation as to what changed and what legal advice was given between April and July. The public has a right to know."
The legal appeal began after a ruling by a traffic adjudicator that the process City of York Council had used to enforce the traffic ban and issue fine on both Lendal Bridge and Coppergate had been unlawful. But earlier this month, the council announced it was dropping the Lendal Bridge appeal and would offer refunds to drivers fined on the bridge.
A Labour spokesman added: ""York Liberal Democrats arguing the council should not seek legal advice is irresponsible.
“It is also hypocritical for York Liberal Democrats to argue about waste when they wasted millions on Hungate and still left it derelict, the purple FTR buses, the proposal for another council office in Acomb and more.
“We hope they engage in the cross-party congestion commission and work in partnership to find solutions to York's congestion problems that will not go away. Arguing consistently for the status quo is not an option”.