Councillors on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) have rejected a proposal to have records of their votes made available online.

Councillors David Coole and Christopher Ecclestone had proposed that the way councillors vote at council and committee meetings should be recorded and made available on the council’s website to bring transparency to the council. This would bring TVBC into line with a similar move at Andover Town Council approved last month.

However, following debate, and concerns being raised about the amount of time such a proposal would take, the motion was rejected by the council.

At present, a recorded vote can be called for at a meeting of TVBC if 10 members at a meeting agree that it should be recorded. Named votes are also held for certain matters such as the council’s budget and council tax.

Opening the debate, Cllr Coole described the move as “a simple motion to bring transparency to this council to bring it into line with parliament and Andover Town Council.”

He said that it would enable electorates to be aware of how their representatives are voting, and to hold them to account.

Cllr Ecclestone concurred, saying: “I think Cllrs need to be prepared to stand by their votes and that the matter be reported so those who did not attend the meetings will be able to find out who did vote for a matter that may be of interest to the voters, not just next week or next month but next election.”

He added: “If it works in Westminster, with over 600 MPs, it can work in Test Valley.”

Cllr Richard Rowles, said that while he is “for transparency”, that it would be simpler to put recordings of TVBC meetings online, which is “a pretty simple thing to achieve.”

Cllr John Parker, meanwhile, said that he was “not clear” there was an issue to solve.

“How much extra effort of administration, how much longer will meetings be, and what is the cost of such a procedure?” he asked. “At the moment, as we’ve demonstrated tonight, quite a number of our resolutions have gone forward with no dissent. Would that then require a roll call for everyone?”

Cllr Phil North agreed, saying that he thought there was “legitimate concern in terms of time”.

“The consequence of this motion would mean that we would have recorded votes just to accept the minutes of a previous meeting and that’s not just in full council, that’s in every single committee meeting.”

Cllr Rebecca Meyer, however, said that such procedures were a standard across all levels of government in the USA.

“In a land area 30 times the size of England, we do it in every layer of government. The reason we do this is because it holds people accountable.

“I find it very odd that people don’t want to be held accountable for their actions and it makes me, the American mindset, quite suspicious why people would want to hide why they voted because it takes too much time.”

Councillors then voted on the plans, with five councillors, all representing Andover, voting in favour of the plans. Cllrs Iris Andersen, Victoria Harber, Coole, Ecclestone and Meyer all voted in favour, but were defeated after the rest of the council voted against.

As a result, votes will continue to be unrecorded, except where legally obligated or requested by 10 or more councillors.