New and former Tory council leaders clash over appointments

New council leader Eileen Lintill and former leader Tony Dignum
New council leader Eileen Lintill and former leader Tony Dignum

The former and current leaders of Chichester District Council have butted heads over who should sit on one of the authority’s panels.

At a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (June 4), Eileen Lintill defended her choices for the development plan and infrastructure panel after Tony Dignum declared the mixture ‘odd’.

The panel is made up of ten councillors and advises the cabinet on issues such as Neighbourhood Plans and the Local Plan.

Unlike some of the main committees within the council, membership of the panel does not have to be balanced to reflect the ruling political party.

But Mr Dignum said: “I was very surprised to see that the development plan and infrastructure panel has only four members from the Conservative group and six from the various minorities, including four from the Liberal Democrats, the same as the number from the Conservative group, which does seem very odd indeed.”

Mrs Lintill said she had discussed the issue with her deputy, Susan Taylor, and believed the positions on the panel should be taken up by members from wards which needed to take on extra housing.

She added: “I don’t think it would be right to fill it with cabinet members and I don’t think it would be right to fill it with people from the national park – and that is why we have made our decision.”

While the selection was approved by the other members, Mr Dignum asked for his opposition to be recorded.

He also asked about the members chosen for the Chichester District Parking Forum, saying that it was ‘tradition’ to have one representative from each area.

He added: “We have two from the Bosham area and none from Midhurst.”

Pointing out that the matter could be ‘put right’ at the next meeting of the cabinet, Mr Dignum added: “It’s important that the forum is representative of councillors from each of the areas – and has been the case for as long as I was associated with the forum.”

Mrs Lintill said she would ‘think about’ what he had said.