01:20PM, Tuesday 13 November 2018
A Conservative councillor has resigned from the party’s Maidenhead branch citing inadequate policy and an ‘adverse climate’ he says the ruling Tories have promoted.
Cllr Paul Brimacombe (Cox Green) will now work as an independent councillor after listing grievances with the council’s finances and planning issues.
He became an independent Conservative in January after council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) survived a no-confidence vote in the aftermath of his comments about homeless people in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding.
In his letter to Maidenhead Conservative Association chairman Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham), seen by the Advertiser today, Cllr Brimacombe wrote: “Sadly the inadequacy of policy and the adverse climate and culture promoted by the Conservative administration are beyond what I can affect even from standing apart. Therefore I will henceforth describe myself solely as an Independent.”
He listed ‘inadequacies’ which included ‘stalling’ the Borough Local Plan, ‘limited achievement’ in the regeneration of Maidenhead and the ‘poor handling’ of plans to build a Hindu centre near Boulters Lock.
He also criticised the £7.4million overspend seen in a financial update yesterday and added: “If there is one thing that the Conservatives are supposed to get right, it is the money.
“It is disingenuous to present the current financial pressures as unseen and unknown.
“This deficit appears to result from long-term trends and policy, inappropriate assumptions, overly optimistic financial judgements and unsubstantiated mitigations.”
He continued: “There now needs to be much closer scrutiny, challenge and checking by all councillors and this must be tolerated with patience and respect by those in charge.
“There is no doubt that RBWM has been a councillor-led authority and the officers do what they are bid within a climate and culture that is very much influenced by the leadership of the council appointed by the Conservatives.”
In response, Cllr Kellaway told the Advertiser that he thought Cllr Brimacombe’s criticisms were unfair and stressed that financial pressures exist in ‘every other council in the land’, and praised the work of Cllr Dudley and finance cabinet member Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham).
Addressing Cllr Brimacombe’s resignation, Cllr Kellaway said: “I am obviously very disappointed that he has resigned from the Conservative Party.
“Paul has been a very able councillor and made a very good contribution.”
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