A local councillor has questioned the need for discussions on a proposal for new signs for Antrim to take place behind closed doors.
At last Thursday morning’s Development and Leisure Committee meeting, members debated proposed new signage around Antrim Town centre and the estimated costs involved.
However for this section of the meeting local journalists were excluded from the chamber and it was discussed in private.
Councillor Neil Kelly asked whether this topic needed to be kept behind closed doors, suggesting that this was a good news story for the borough and a topic that should be out in the public domain.
He said: “I can’t really see why this is in confidence. If the estimated cost (of the signage) is left out, then what’s the sensitivity?
“This is showing a positive thing that Antrim Borough Council are trying to do.”
Director of Development and Leisure, Geraldine Girvan explained to members that the estimated costs need to be kept in private because this could lead to potential contractors knowing what the council’s budget is and thus possibly affecting the cost.
She added that if she took the estimated costs out of the report this would mean the committee members cannot make any decision on the proposals.
“It’s not that the issue is confidential, it lets suppliers out there know what our potential budget is.”
Councillor Kelly suggested that a compromise be sought in future so these positive projects are out in the public domain earlier, but without compromising any budget or costs.