COUNCIL chiefs are staying tight-lipped over the launch of a self-styled ‘liberation army’, set up in a bid to encourage transparency and expose alleged town hall wrong-doing.
The Darlington Liberation Army (DLA) was launched in the wake of recent conflict between town centre traders and Darlington Borough Council over car parking policies.
The group aims to act as a channel for frustrated residents and traders to voice their opinions on the council and its policies.
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DLA's headquarters, in Bondgate, is currently covered with posters criticising the council on a variety of issues, from parking restrictions to the wages paid to its executives and a perceived drop in town centre footfall.
One poster, featuring an image of a soldier clutching a gun, says: “This is your wake up call, we are allowing Darlington Borough Council to kill our town.”
A Facebook page set up by the group has attracted the interest of hundreds of people and inspired lively debate.
DLA counts among its supporters a number of disgruntled town centre traders who feel their voices are not being heard, according to florist Rob Metcalfe.
Mr Metcalfe recently accused the council of making him homeless by imposing restrictive parking policies around his business premises and he has criticised council leader Bill Dixon for 'hand- picking' traders to invite to a meeting to discuss the issue.
On behalf of the DLA, he issued a statement which said: “The DLA is a community of people from all walks of life and from all areas of Darlington.
“The one thing we all have in common is that we do not believe Darlington Borough Council is acting in the best interests of the majority of Darlington’s population.
“We are not getting value for money and we expect much more when we pay council officials some of the highest salaries in this country.
“We expect full transparency around the way in which vast amounts of our money is spent.”
He added: “There are many town centre business owners actively supporting the DLA, many are very well known and highly respected individuals who are on council committees and attend many council meetings and consultations.
“The one thing they have in common is that they all know their opinions matter little, if at all, to Darlington Borough Council.”
A council spokeswoman declined to comment on the formation of DLA.