A city councillor claims he has been “put out to grass” in a bitter Town Hall vendetta dating back 17 years.
Preston’s only independent member, Terry Cartwright, has been ousted from the powerful planning committee – leaving him with just a seat on the full council which meets every six weeks.
It’s a vendetta and it’s been going on for 17 years. I’m cheesed off that someone who has been elected by the people of Deepdale isn’t allowed a voice on any committee.Terry Cartwright
“I’ve been phased out – and I’m sure that can’t be democratic,” he stormed. “They’ve been trying to get me out since 1998 and they’ve finally done it.”
A shake-up which last month chopped the size of the planning committee from 16 to 12 meant no room for two Tory members, one Labour and the sole independent. In its place, Coun Cartwright was offered a seat on two small committees which hardly ever meet.
“I’m not accepting them,” he said. “They have to offer me two committees and so they give me ones which are lucky if they meet once a year. Effectively I’ve been put out to grass.” Coun Cartwright served as a Labour member in Preston from 1990 to 1998. But, after being de-selected because he refused to toe the party line on some local issues, he stood as an independent in Deepdale and won.
He said: “For the first year they didn’t give me any committees out of spite. But I managed to get a couple after that and I’ve been sitting on the planning committee. I pointed out that what they were doing was unlawful because I hadn’t been allowed the statutory five working days to consider the documents. But I was over-ruled.
“It’s a vendetta and it’s been going on for 17 years. I’m cheesed off that someone who has been elected by the people of Deepdale isn’t allowed a voice on any committee.”
Labour’s deputy leader Coun John Swindells denied there had been any political motive.
“The council decided for various reasons to reduce the size of the planning committee and make it more manageable,” he said.
“After each election there is a complicated Excel spreadsheet using a national formula. Terry has spoken to us and said he felt it was a way of getting him off. It wasn’t. It’s not a political thing at all.”