VITAL financial information about Hereford's transport package was kept from Hereford councillors until months after they took up office, a council meeting has heard.

The shocking revelation came in response to a question from a member of the public at a meeting of Herefordshire Council's Cabinet on July 22.

Replying to the question, which asked when the new administration became aware that part of the transport package approved by the previous administration, the city link road, had not actually been paid for, Councillor John Harrington said he had not been told until he had been in the job for half a year.

"Not immediately, strangely enough," he said.

"You would think as the cabinet member I would have been made aware of that fairly quickly, but it was about six months into my tenure that it was discovered, partly because we had started an investigation into the project management and the financial accounts of the road."

The cost of building the road, part of a package of planned improvements to transport in Hereford, has spiralled well beyond the original budget, with additional land costs of more than £5million, exceeding the budget of £11.135m to a cost so far of £16.250m.

Coun Harrington said he was frustrated and that this is the sort of thing that seems to happen in local government.

"It has been very surprising to a new administration such as ourselves that projects that have so much money involved, and which are justified and argued on the basis of deliverable outcomes which seem concrete at the time, very often don't seem to be delivered in a way that is satisfactory, and certainly not in the way in which they were originally justified.

"We can't keep making these mistakes. We have political differences with the previous administration, and they will argue that they were not kept well informed, but I can't accept that to the same level, because when we came in as an administration, we went to look for issues, we went to ask for issues, we started investigations and changing the way things were done.

"They had the opportunity to do that. If as politicians you are not going your job or keeping your eye on the ball, and pressing forward with vision and good governance, then you have a lot to answer for."