BARNSLEY Council’s leader said there ‘isn’t a more transparent’ local authority in the country having faced criticism from opposition councillors.

Sir Steve Houghton argued against claims from Liberal Democrat members that residents’ questions were being ignored at yesterday’s full council meeting, held at The Civic.

Lib Dem Coun Hannah Kitching’s bid to extend permitted question time allowances was voted down, but an amendment to publish the public’s views and subsequent responses from cabinet members on the council’s website was accepted.

Sir Steve added that Barnsley ‘is not Sheffield, thank goodness’, after the city voted for all decisions to be considered by a cross-party committee and not by individual councillors from its ruling cabinet.

“No-one’s trying to prevent anyone from asking questions and there isn’t a problem with transparency,” he said.

“Members can ask questions 365 days of the year - by extending the time allowed for questioning, other council business would suffer.

“They are making changes in Sheffield but I feel they will come to regret it.”