AN INDEPENDENT Scarborough councillor has been excluded from the Independent Group after he voted in favour of a Cabinet decision earlier this week.
Cllr Bill Chatt – who is the portfolio holder for housing, public health, property maintenance and sustainability – voted in favour of a move to formalise Scarborough Council’s buying in of plants.
But he said he was shocked when he was contacted by his group leader, Cllr Peter Popple, to order him to either resign his Cabinet position or face being excluded from the group.
He said: “I do feel very annoyed that this decision has been taken without me being allowed to put my side across.
“The decision I took was to keep the council in a legal position. No decision has been taken on the future of Manor Road Nursery.”
The decision on plants was taken because the council was in danger of breaching EU regulations on procurement but fears had been expressed that it would lead to the eventual closure of the nursery.
By Wednesday rumours were circulating that Cllr Chatt had crossed the floor and joined another political party but he stressed that he would remain an Independent councillor. “I’d rather not be a councillor than not be an Independent,” he said.
Cllr Popple said that other members of the Independent Group were unhappy that the group was being associated with the decisions the Cabinet was making and many strongly disagreed with them.
He said: “The final straw was Tuesday’s Cabinet decision to ignore the recommendations of the scrutiny committee regarding the future of Manor Road Nursery. The Cabinet seeming being hellbent on disposal.
It was felt that Bill is a member of the cabinet, it would be better for him and the Group to disassociate the Independent Group from the Cabinet. Bill decided to stay on the cabinet, which is of course his choice.”
Cllr Popple added that Cllr Chatt is an excellent councillor and a loss to the group. He said: “He is welcome back is he so wishes once his time on the cabinet is over.”