HEREFORDSHIRE Council leader David Hitchiner says his coalition administration has been frustrated by the slowness of decision making.

The Herefordshire Independents struck a deal with Green Party and It’s Our County councillors following the local elections in May last year.

A year on, Coun Hitchiner says the alliance is going ‘remarkably well’ but they can’t change things as quickly as they wanted to.

“We do want to make a success of it,” he said.

“There are some people who think it couldn’t possibly work well, but it has.

“There’s a mutual respect among us. We are different, we have some very strong characters and some who do think slightly differently.

“It must have been quite a shock for the officers because they had one administration for 12 years doing things a particular way. But credit to the officers because they have had to change. It’s a slow thing. We can’t change things really quickly. We’ve been frustrated by the slowness of decision making.

“We didn’t know the system. There’s a lot of criticism over lack of transparency, and that’s why people elected us. They wanted a bit more transparency.”

He said to address this they have introduced an extra council meeting, questions can be asked at cabinet, and scrutiny meetings are run differently.

“We are looking at the cabinet system review. That’s frustrating because some people thought we could do that straight away but you can only do it at the annual general meeting.”

Opposition councillor Jonathan Lester said his Conservative group felt the loss of the £27m funding for the Hereford southern link road project over the last year was a huge mistake.

But his group is pleased to see the alliance administration continue with many of the policies and projects they put in motion.

“It appears to be a lack of leadership with really important things, but we are pleased they are doing a lot of initiatives that we started.”