Consultants deny pressure

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Independent consultants have defended their reports on the relocation of county council headquarters.

The documents by GVA and ERS have been described as “flawed” by critics, who have questioned figures and the scope of analysis.

But at the council’s Policy Board on Tuesday, both companies said they had only followed their brief from the authority.

And they denied that any pressure had been applied to favour one option over another.

ERS Managing Director Keith Burge said: “There is very clear guidance published by the Government and it is something that we do need to follow. While there may be some different interpretations of the report, it has accorded with this guidance and it was a very robust approach that was taken.

“Our role is to provide information which informs the debate. Any suggestion that we might have favoured a particular option is not true. We have never been leant on, steered, or any other term you wish to use, We were left to get on with the task and do it in a professional way.”

GVA Senior Director Michael Cuthbertson said: “We have done the job in a fair and even-handed way. At no point has anyone from the council, member or officer, leant on us to deliver the case one way or another. They have been honest, genuine and true.”