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Tory and Lib Dem continue to clash over borough parking strategy

The council’s lead member for parking has accused a Liberal Democrat councillor of playing ‘petty party politics’ in an ongoing dispute over the borough’s parking strategy.

The strategy, due to be debated at cabinet last month but deferred at late notice, sets out the council’s plans for car parking and includes proposals for a resident discount scheme.

Opposition councillors were furious with the decision to delay the paper until this month’s meeting, with Cllr John Baldwin (Lib Dem, Belmont) saying he was ‘livid’ at cabinet on October 29.

He added that he and other councillors had spent ‘many hours’ reading the report and had 'serious questions'.

The paper was deferred because the council wanted to implement further ‘helpful comments’ it had received, according to parking lead Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury).

Public rows have since ensued and, in a letter sent to the Advertiser this week, Cllr Cannon has accused the Lib Dems of not contributing ‘constructively’. 

He said: “To take account of the work done by Cllr Baldwin and his colleagues, he was asked by the leader of the council (Cllr Andrew Johnson) to contact me with any questions or comments.

“Unfortunately, Cllr Baldwin has chosen to not take up this opportunity.

“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.”

In response, Cllr Baldwin said that he has responded to the document as ‘an entire group’ together with his party colleagues, claiming he has received no response.

He also said the paper had been promised back in February and complained about its quality, calling it ‘rubbish’ and still containing editing notes.

“We have provided more than adequate feedback to David Cannon. The views that have been fed back are the views of the entire [Lib Dem] group,” Cllr Baldwin said.

He added: “If the worst thing that anyone says to me is that David Cannon does not like me, then it would not have been a wasted life.”

In response, Cllr Cannon said he could not comment on the quality of the paper because it had not yet been presented to cabinet. He added that he was 'unaware' of the editing notes, which he says were not made by himself.

“The bottom line is, we are trying to get a parking strategy,” Cllr Cannon said.

“People like Cllr Baldwin take the meaning of the opposition a bit too literally and oppose everything regardless.

“It is very petty. It will be an interesting cabinet.”

Cabinet will take place on Thursday, November 26 and will be broadcast live on the council’s YouTube channel.

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