"WHEN did the council get to choose what information they release regarding the spending of taxpayers money?"

That is the question from a local MP after Southampton City Council (SCC) refused to reveal costs regarding work which will see a major bridge closed for five nights.

As previously reported, the Itchen Bridge will close from 10pm to 6am for five nights in a row starting from October 28.

The closure is to allow engineers to inspect the bridge and to install mesh to deter pigeons, leaving drivers with a three mile diversion.

The Daily Echo asked SCC how much the installation of the mesh and the inspection would cost on two occasions but the city council refused to answer.

The Echo also asked if the pigeon "infestation" the reason the bridge needs to be closed for five nights, if the pigeons delayed the inspection, and why the Itchen Bridge needs to be inspected.

SCC refused to answer the questions claiming that there was "obviously no need to respond" to the additional questions raised.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen claimed, the council were being "deliberately obstructive".

He said: “When did Southampton’s Labour Council get to choose what information they do or do not release regarding the spending of taxpayers money?

"They are public servants and they should behave as such.

"Being deliberately obstructive just looks like they have something to hide."

In a statement the city council said: “The main reason for the bridge closure is to conduct an inspection of the bridge.

"The bridge will be closed overnight as the entrance to the inspection tunnel that runs through the bridge is in the centre of the road, this means for safety reasons we need to prevent traffic using the bridge.”

The news comes as earlier this month the council announced a number of roadworks along The Avenue for the next 20 weeks to allow work for a new cycle lane.

As previously reported, toll fees for the Itchen Bridge rose in June this year.

Drivers who are not residents of Southampton are now asked to pay 70p when crossing the bridge during off peak hours and 80p during pick time.

Meanwhile, the bridge toll for cars, small vans and small 4x4s increased from 50p to 60p at peak time.

The move is expected to raise £510,000 a year.