A LEADING councillor had a ‘momentary lapse in concentration’ when she mistakenly voted in favour of creating a ‘green lung’ for Maidenhead instead of against.
At an extraordinary full council meeting last week, the ruling Royal Borough Conservatives rejected a petition – which garnered nearly 4,450 signatures – to convert the Maidenhead Golf Club into a great park.
The golf course has been identified to being ‘central’ to the council’s emerging borough local plan as the land has been allocated to develop 2,600 homes there.
During the debate, councillor Donna Stimson (Con: St Mary’s), lead member for climate change, sustainability, parks, and countryside, said it wasn’t “practical” to transform the golf course into a great park as the land is needed for those homes.
She added the council will make it the “best exemplar of sustainable living possible”.
However, when it came to the vote, Cllr Stimson voted in favour to convert the golf course into a great park instead of against, as her Conservative colleagues did.
Speaking to the Observer, Cllr Stimson said there was no malice behind her “stupid” mistake and revealed she informed and apologised to all members in a private Zoom call after the meeting that she meant to vote against, not for.
Cllr Stimson also sent an email to every councillor the next day, reemphasizing the way she voted was a mistake after a few councillors contacted democratic services.
In the email, Cllr Stimson said she had a “momentary lapse of concentration” during the vote and has apologised “profusely” to all councillors for her “genuine” error.
When asked why she didn’t make a public statement on the misunderstanding, Cllr Stimson responded: “The vote was won. If we [the Conservatives] lost the vote, of course, I would’ve done something more drastic.
“I thought by apologising to the people who were in the meeting was enough.”
She added: “It was a difficult decision, and I took a long, long time thinking about it [and] to lose concentration at that critical time was a stupid, stupid thing to do.”
Cllr Stimson also said she didn’t want to enter into any social media rows with critics if she made a public statement on the way she voted.