COUNCILLORS branded themselves ‘stupid mushrooms’ at a fiery meeting at Runcorn Town Hall.

Tensions boiled over at a scrutiny meeting last Wednesday, January 29, where councillors complained about being asked to vote on issues ‘they know nothing about’.

Members of the Corporate Policy and Performance Board said a lack of transparency in Halton Borough Council was becoming a ‘massive problem’, with key decisions being ‘buried’ by the council’s cabinet.

The discussion came after a report on the council’s asset managements, which left many baffled about major plans, investments and developments.

Frustrated Councillor Chris Loftus said: “Ged (Cllr Phillbin) has raised the issue of what we know, what we get told and what we find out about.

“I found out about (one development) not long after they shut off the road to start building by Phoenix Park. The road was closed because there was a new development site there I knew nothing at all about.

“When someone asked me saying ‘you’re a councillor’ my response was ‘errr’. You look bloody stupid, and I felt stupid at the time.”

It was claimed councillors had been ‘kept in the dark’ about other issues including arrears at Widnes Market

Cllr Loftus continued: “Some of these things are plans we should know about before they start happening. But we are not getting that type of information.”

“This is a massive problem that we have got. There’s things going on in this borough that we know nothing about. We are supposed to be scrutinising what’s going on, but we haven’t got a bloody clue whatsoever because we are not being fed this information.

“There is stuff going on in levels in the council. Stuff going on at the board which is not filtering down.

“I don’t think it’s deliberate. I hope it’s not deliberate. But it’s happening and it needs to stop.

“We can’t be kept in the dark. I don’t want to be a mushroom. But I am feeling like one because when i read stuff like this I think how come I don’t know it before hand.”