06:17PM, Wednesday 06 February 2019
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed the borough spent more than £20,000 on banners highlighting the work of the Conservative-led council.
Signs went up across the area last month featuring the Royal Borough logo alongside an array of positive messages, which included the statement it offered the lowest council tax outside of London.
The council has said it used £22,108.80 of taxpayers’ cash to pay for them, confirming a figure which has been widely shared on social media in recent weeks.
But Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park), deputy leader of the council, dismissed claims that this was a bad way to spend public money.
He told the Advertiser: “We are running a balanced budget and to suggest it was money badly spent is absolute nonsense in my opinion.
“As a team we have delivered a great outcome for our residents and we’re proud of that. We’re not just talking about the council, we’re talking about the officers and the whole machine.
“It’s about time we started celebrating our successes in this country.”
In an email seen by the Advertiser, the council’s head of planning Jenifer Jackson said that the banners will require retrospective advertisement consent as they are bigger than rules allow.
Oldfield councillor Geoff Hill (TBF) said he planned to call in any planning application to the Borough Wide Development Management Panel. He said: “I’m quite astounded that banners have appeared all around the borough that require advertisement consent and haven’t been put through the appropriate panel.
“I also worry that this has happened so close to the election.”
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