Council’s deputy leader ‘sacked’ over housing row

Blake Pain
Blake Pain

THE DEPUTY leader of Harborough District Council has said he has been sacked from his role following a row over housing allocations.

In a statement this afternoon, Cllr Blake Pain said he was removed by council leader Mike Rook after the pair failed to agree on planning policies which will shape where houses are built over the next 20 years.

It comes after the announcement in recent weeks that the Core Strategy planning document is in need of a major overhaul - less than a year after being adopted.

Cllr Pain, who represents Lubenham ward, said: “I came into local politics because I believe in democracy, localism and public service.

“I’m disappointed that the leader has taken the easy route by removing me. In doing so he has shut down the voice of residents who live in my division at executive level.

“We have a core strategy that was adopted less than a year ago at a cost of about £500K of tax payers money. The proposal to replace that strategy and all its saved policies with a local plan is a political one.

“This is a sledgehammer of a proposal which is being driven, by a few, to increase the number of houses built within the district.

“Whilst it is not clear yet what the full impact of such a decision will have on the rest of the district, Lubenham ward has already been earmarked for a further 800 homes over and above the 1,000 accepted less than a year ago following an independent and public inspection.

“I, like many members of the public cannot understand the logic behind where we are. In trying to make sense of the current situation, the public have researched past council papers and listened to recordings of previous meetings.

“They have concluded that resolutions haven’t been kept, meetings have been conducted with elements of amnesia and there has been a distinct lack of relevant objective information amongst the verbal and written information offered.

“To re-coin an infamous phrase the council is and has been “economical”.

“Executive committees at all councils have to make tough decisions for the benefit of the public they serve; that I do not disgree, but usually, there is an understandable logic behind those decisions.

“When the public fails to understand the logic and their elected representative’s concerns are ignored, surely the correct democratic action isn’t to shoot the messenger.”