WHAT a startling revelation by the council’s special committee examining the Hungate headquarters fiasco (The Press, January 14) that there was no meeting of minds between public expectations for the building and those of the council.

I think I know why – and it’s called effective communication. Instead of arrogantly arriving at their ill-conceived plans through a process of smoke and mirrors, the council would have done better to openly listen and take heed of public views.

This should have been done before they even put pen to paper – let alone prior to squandering £5 million of public money on abortive plans.

It beggars belief that a new city hall which should last for centuries is not regarded as a prestigious building by the council in this tourist city. Fancy the council thinking a cheap and green nasty alternative could be located in the high-profile historic Hungate area.

Which planet are our councillors on?

Thank goodness English Heritage intervened.

But wait, is the council even now, in spite of the criticism, listening to its scrutiny committee? Instead of a public consultation about the location and the design of the building, we have a further cloak-and-dagger arrangement in which 12 developers are being asked to select sites and make plans in liaison with senior council officials.

Hiding behind a veil of secrecy said to be necessary because of “European rules” the council leader calmly announces that neither the identity of the developers nor the sites proposed can be revealed.

What an indictment: A Liberal controlled council being accused of creating the biggest democratic deficit imaginable! How’s that for a poke in the eye of local democracy for a party that espouses it?

Alan Charlesworth, Old Earswick, York.

*A City of York Council spokeswoman, said: “The council is carrying out a competitive procurement exercise, in accordance with EU and UK legislation and the authority’s own financial regulations, to identify the best possible option for a new headquarters.

“The process promotes competition, fairness, equality and transparency, but at this early stage of the process, legislation prevents the council from releasing more information about possible sites and developers. However, the authority is committed to keeping residents informed of progress on the new headquarters and will release more detailed information as soon as it is able to do so.

“Further along the procurement process, developers will be expected to carry out public consultation on their development proposals and to demonstrate how their final plans have addressed any concerns or issues raised by residents and stakeholders.”