A SPAT has broken out between two councillors – with one accused of playing “petty party politics” in a row over the Royal Borough’s parking strategy.
Following the sudden withdrawal of the Royal Borough’s ten-year parking strategy, councillor David Cannon (Conservative: Datchet, Horton, and Wraysbury), lead member for public protection and parking, has accused the Lib Dems of political point-scoring instead of working collaboratively.
After receiving “several helpful comments”, Cllr Cannon decided to withdraw the refreshed parking strategy at a cabinet meeting on October 29 – which left councillor John Baldwin (Liberal Democrats: Belmont) “absolutely livid” and he insisted opposition members be consulted on the changes before it goes back to cabinet.
The leader of the council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Conservative: Hurley and Walthams) said contributions can be directed to Cllr Cannon before the next meeting.
In a letter sent to the Observer, Cllr Cannon claims he has received no contact or engagement from Cllr Baldwin about the strategy and called his challenges “politically motivated”.
He said: “It appears Cllr Baldwin and his Liberal Democrat colleagues would prefer to play petty party politics rather than contribute constructively to deliver for the residents of the borough.”
Cllr Cannon added it was “a missed opportunity” for all opposition members to engage with the Tory party about the strategy and he “hopes” the Lib Dems do not prevent the pilot scheme from coming into force before Christmas.
In response, Cllr Baldwin said the lead member’s comments were “disingenuous at best” as many members of the Lib Dems, including himself, have contacted Cllr Cannonand Cllr Johnson to raise their concerns about the strategy.
He said: “He [Cllr Cannon] knows I sent him an open letter to the leader of the council asking him to review his decision to cancel all self-administered parking schemes. So, I’m a little unsure how much contact he needs from the Liberal Democrats before he decides to notice that he had some.”
Cllr Baldwin also scolded the decision to publish the strategy within 48 hours of the cabinet meeting where, during that short time, he contacted over 300 of his residents in Belmont ward over parking concerns.
The parking scheme – which will be heard at the next cabinet meeting on November 26 – outlines the council’s plans for 2020 to 2030, including predicting parking spaces and the potential trial of a ‘pilot’ scheme for residents to park at various places for free for a certain amount of time.