Opinion: AFTER years of uncertainty, the hopes of some that Hereford would get a bypass to alleviate its awful traffic problems have finally been dashed.

Last week Herefordshire Council voted 27 in favour of ditching the plan, 19 against, and six abstained (declined to vote). You can read our report here.

Now Councillor Paul Rone has made an interesting point. He is frustrated by the six who effectively did not take part in the decision-making process. Read more.

He says: “Even after having years to engage with their constituents and gain invaluable feedback, they still could not make a decision about the most important issue most of them will ever face.”

We share Coun Rone’s concern, but our unease about this vote is directed less at the six who failed to pin their colours to the mast and more at the process itself.

After all, even had the six voted against shelving the bypass, the decision to abandon it would still have carried.

More disturbing is the fact that this decision, as we said in this column last week, is likely to be the most important members of this council will ever make in terms of its impact on Hereford.

Yet local people – who elect councillors – have no way of knowing how their representative voted.

Councillors did not put their names to their votes, which is a fairly common practice, but in this instance is one that should have been abandoned.

Meanwhile, coronavirus restrictions meant the meeting was held virtually and votes recorded digitally, so there wasn’t even a public gallery where people could see which way councillors were voting.

Democracy only works where there is accountability and transparency, and it is disappointing that both were missing here.