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Councillor defects from Labour group amid leadership concerns at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
A LABOUR councillor has resigned from the group after a dispute over plans to impose car parking charges in a seaside town proved a step too far.
Sean Pryce, who represents St Germain’s ward on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, has hit out several of the group’s cabinet members claiming they are not listening to residents’ concerns and there is a lack of democracy.
The councillor, who will now stand as an independent, was only elected onto the council in May 2011 but has become dismayed with how the authority is run.
In his resignation letter to council leader George Dunning, he highlighted a number of concerns about leadership of the authority including hitting out at plans to impose parking charges in Saltburn.
He said: “It’s not just about the parking it’s about a lack of democracy and leadership of the council. They were just going ahead and doing what they wanted regardless of what the people wanted.
“It became an increasingly easy decision to make (resigning from the Labour group) as the lack of leadership and democracy in the party increased.”
In the letter he signed off saying: “I hope that you can turn round what many interpret as an arrogant and “we know what’s best for you” attitude from the leadership and some of the cabinet for the benefit of the council and our residents.
"No problems with anyone personally, just the unwillingness of some to listen to the residents they are supposed to represent.”
Coun Pryce’s resignation is second from the Labour group in little over a year following fellow Labour and Co-operative member, Tristan Learoyd’s decision to resign from the group on December 2011.
Out of 59 seats on the council, coun Dunning only has a two seat majority with Labour holding 31; Liberal Democrat 15; Conservative six; East Cleveland Independents three; and four Independents.
He said: “It is always disappointing when somebody has to resign because of an issue but it would have been much better if councillor Pryce had come and spoken to me about any issues relating to setting the budget but he didn’t.”
And Liberal Democrat group leader Glyn Nightingale added: “The only two gains Labour made in Redcar in council elections in 2011 have now been lost to defections.
“Labour continue to take their local dominance and power for granted.”