WDC leader dismisses Labour calls to quit Tories over housing issue

WDC leader dismisses Labour calls to quit Tories over housing issue

WDC leader dismisses Labour calls to quit Tories over housing

WDC leader dismisses Labour calls to quit Tories over housing

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A TORY council leader has dismissed suggestions he should resign from the party in protest against the Government’s housing targets.

Wycombe Labour said it is no good Conservative councillors ‘crying crocodile tears’ and ‘slavishly carrying out policies they disagree with’ - urging them to cross the floor ‘if they care about Wycombe’.

It comes after Cllr Richard Scott, the Tory Leader of Wycombe District Council, said he had been told to "go away and get on" with the Local Plan by government minister Eric Pickles MP after raising concerns.

Cllr Scott laughed off the Labour call to quit as every local authority around the country was facing the same housing predicament.

He said: "I am flattered the Labour party has said I would be welcome to join them but that is not my party.

"It is something we have to do to address the need and every council has been asked to come up with plans so we are responding to that.

"We are also faced with the challenges of our topography, as we have large Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belt land so it makes the task of finding suitable sites for development more difficult.

"But as I understand it, Sir Michael Lyons has been employed by the Labour party to look at a similar [housing] roll out so it would be no different [with a Labour government]."

Wycombe Labour Leader Cllr Ian Bates said the party is not drawing up plans similar to the coalition government - pointing to its proposals to release Brownfield sites and introducing a ‘use it or lose it’ power for local authorities in a bid to discourage land banking.

He added: "It’s no good Richard Scott wringing his hands and saying it is all the Government’s fault. It’s no good him crying crocodile tears and saying Mr Pickles is forcing him to do what he thinks is wrong.

"If he and other Tory councillors think the Government’s policies are wrong and they feel strongly about the effect of the Government’s policies on Wycombe, they would resign.

"If they stay in the Tory Party slavishly carrying out policies they disagree with, voters can draw their own conclusions."

He also took a shot at Liberal Democrat members campaigning against the development of the Gomm Valley - one of five reserve sites expected to be released for development by WDC.

Councillors joined protesters on a walk around the valley at the weekend (see page 4).

Cllr Bates said: "It is no good Lib Dem councillors leading rambles through the reserve sites while their party centrally supports these policies to the hilt.

"If they think the Government’s policies are wrong they would resign from the Lib Dems."

Cllr Trevor Snaith from the Liberal Democrats said: "The problem we have got is no matter which party, including Labour, they are all saying we need to be building more homes.

"The debate we should be having is where the homes should be and where and how we get the necessary infrastructure in place.

"Also the priority needs to be to get the social housing we need. We have more than 2,500 people on the social housing waiting list in this district.

"Had we still had our council properties we could have looked at building new homes in the district for the local people to meet short term housing needs.

"Unfortunately both the Labour group and Conservatives signed and voted for the local council houses to be sold off to Red Kite."

The tenant led transfer to Red Kite was back by Tory councillors but not one Labour councillor voted in favour of the proposals.

WDC is expected to publish a summary of the findings from its Local Plan public consultation at the end of October.

Comments (6)

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12:07pm Wed 3 Sep 14

mistamina says...

''Go away and get on with it''
When did UK become a dictatorship? NO ONE should talk to any of our elected representatives this disrespectfully.
''Go away and get on with it'' When did UK become a dictatorship? NO ONE should talk to any of our elected representatives this disrespectfully. mistamina
  • Score: 1

12:19pm Wed 3 Sep 14

gpn01 says...

Eric Pickles is also an elected representative! I think also that Cllr Scott was describing the sentiment of the message, not necessarily the actual words.

For the local Labour Party to propose that a local Councillor should 'cross the floor' because Central Government (not the party) is pushing the planning changes through is simply them playing a spot of political football. Why do they not instead suggest that there is an all party select committee set up to review the proposed planning changes? The committee could then scrutinizes the impact on local councils, see how NPPF is working (or not) and cross-check whether it really all aligns with the principles of the LOCALISM Act which was intended to delegate powers to local people to influence their own environment. The reality is that the Act and NPPF plus Central Government dictats have simply acquiesced to the demands of the construction lobby.
Eric Pickles is also an elected representative! I think also that Cllr Scott was describing the sentiment of the message, not necessarily the actual words. For the local Labour Party to propose that a local Councillor should 'cross the floor' because Central Government (not the party) is pushing the planning changes through is simply them playing a spot of political football. Why do they not instead suggest that there is an all party select committee set up to review the proposed planning changes? The committee could then scrutinizes the impact on local councils, see how NPPF is working (or not) and cross-check whether it really all aligns with the principles of the LOCALISM Act which was intended to delegate powers to local people to influence their own environment. The reality is that the Act and NPPF plus Central Government dictats have simply acquiesced to the demands of the construction lobby. gpn01
  • Score: 0

5:06pm Wed 3 Sep 14

mistamina says...

gpn01 wrote:
Eric Pickles is also an elected representative! I think also that Cllr Scott was describing the sentiment of the message, not necessarily the actual words.

For the local Labour Party to propose that a local Councillor should 'cross the floor' because Central Government (not the party) is pushing the planning changes through is simply them playing a spot of political football. Why do they not instead suggest that there is an all party select committee set up to review the proposed planning changes? The committee could then scrutinizes the impact on local councils, see how NPPF is working (or not) and cross-check whether it really all aligns with the principles of the LOCALISM Act which was intended to delegate powers to local people to influence their own environment. The reality is that the Act and NPPF plus Central Government dictats have simply acquiesced to the demands of the construction lobby.
Accepted, but Pickles 'sentiment' is still far from respectful to someone we elected.

That said, i like the suggestion for an all party select committee. Eminently sensible under the circumstances. I will suggest a few knowledgeable non-political experts be suconded onto this committee.

However, in order to do this successfully, you know it is up to the Tories at WDC to suggest and implement this suggestion.
[quote][p][bold]gpn01[/bold] wrote: Eric Pickles is also an elected representative! I think also that Cllr Scott was describing the sentiment of the message, not necessarily the actual words. For the local Labour Party to propose that a local Councillor should 'cross the floor' because Central Government (not the party) is pushing the planning changes through is simply them playing a spot of political football. Why do they not instead suggest that there is an all party select committee set up to review the proposed planning changes? The committee could then scrutinizes the impact on local councils, see how NPPF is working (or not) and cross-check whether it really all aligns with the principles of the LOCALISM Act which was intended to delegate powers to local people to influence their own environment. The reality is that the Act and NPPF plus Central Government dictats have simply acquiesced to the demands of the construction lobby.[/p][/quote]Accepted, but Pickles 'sentiment' is still far from respectful to someone we elected. That said, i like the suggestion for an all party select committee. Eminently sensible under the circumstances. I will suggest a few knowledgeable non-political experts be suconded onto this committee. However, in order to do this successfully, you know it is up to the Tories at WDC to suggest and implement this suggestion. mistamina
  • Score: 1

6:24pm Wed 3 Sep 14

gpn01 says...

It's actually all councils, not just WDC, who shoyld be pushing it. They should be canvassing their local MP's to push the proposal. At a party political level, local party members (of all parties) should be pressuring their central office's too.
It's actually all councils, not just WDC, who shoyld be pushing it. They should be canvassing their local MP's to push the proposal. At a party political level, local party members (of all parties) should be pressuring their central office's too. gpn01
  • Score: 2

12:11am Thu 4 Sep 14

faircuppa says...

Bates should resign.
Bates should resign. faircuppa
  • Score: 1

6:31pm Thu 4 Sep 14

mistamina says...

faircuppa wrote:
Bates should resign.
Please expain why? I am not challenging your view, I genuinely want to know why.
What did he do, apart from inject a bit of humour by asking an arch Tory to 'come to the dark side'?
[quote][p][bold]faircuppa[/bold] wrote: Bates should resign.[/p][/quote]Please expain why? I am not challenging your view, I genuinely want to know why. What did he do, apart from inject a bit of humour by asking an arch Tory to 'come to the dark side'? mistamina
  • Score: 0

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