A DECISION to re-examine a vote on the future of Hereford’s Enterprise Zone has been branded “absolutely ludicrous” by the leader of Herefordshire Council.

Councillor Tony Johnson said he couldn’t believe opposition members had decided to ‘call-in’ a decision taken by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Joint Executive Committee before Christmas.

Those challenging the vote say they were aggrieved that reports, which officers relied on before making recommendations, were mentioned in a report but were not made available.

In December the Joint Executive Committee decided to provide £100,000 a year from additional business rates to help meet LEP running costs from 2016/17.

This was after agreeing that another river crossing for Hereford would enable an estimated Enterprise Zone take-up of 146,925 sq m at a cost of £17.3m, generating an income of almost £80 million.

Cllr Johnson said the move could only be a good thing.

“This is a complete waste of time,” he said during the hearing held by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

“I still can’t understand why we are here. It’s absolutely ludicrous.

“All we are talking about is a deal which we do very well out of.”

The call-in was led by Cllrs Liz Harvey, Chris Chappell and Alan Seldon.

Cllr Harvey said they were not challenging the investment in the area, adding it will be an “asset” to Herefordshire.

But she was worried that a “gamble” had taken place on the assumption a crossing is provided.

Cllr Alan Seldon told Conservative members they would be doing the same thing should roles be reversed, adding the additional business space is something they need more information on.

A majority of councillors voted to back an amendment by Tory Cllr Brian Wilcox who said the committee should “endorse the decision of the Joint Executive Committee with thanks to our LEP partners for their support”.