Following a year where Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council has faced significant difficulties, the new Leader of the Conservative Group, local businessman Councillor Drew Mellor, has announced that the Conservatives will be supporting a vote of no confidence at the forthcoming Council meeting on Tuesday 9th June.
Explaining the reasoning behind the move, Councillor Mellor commented:
“Over the last year we have seen several high profile disagreements within the ruling seven-group coalition, leading already to a number of resignations. This has left the Administration in even greater difficulty as it becomes harder and harder to satisfy the divergent wishes of each group and individual. The Conservative Group already make up almost half the Council. Having consulted with a number of councillors outside our Group, we have reached an agreement to form a much stronger, more experienced Council Leadership, which is primed to face the very real challenges of the next three years.
Whilst the current Liberal Democrat leader has much to be congratulated on, particularly during these difficult times of the COVID crisis, the realities of decision making when having to constantly satisfy everyone within a strained coalition and a Cabinet of Compromise have become all too familiar. Examples are easy to see: the “Road to Nowhere” resulting from the coalition halting the major Wessex Fields project, which was to provide a huge boost to our local hospitals and create 2,000 jobs for local people; disagreements and dithering over the long-term future of the Air Festival, which brings tens of millions of pounds to our local businesses; or the convoluted new decision making processes which have left disabled drivers waiting a year for parking bays.
It is clear that there has been too much need to compromise and not enough action. At a time when the financial black hole resulting from the COVID crisis is a real threat to us all, such a luxury can no longer be afforded.
Our Council needs an inclusive and experienced administration, putting the issues of real people and their concerns at the very centre. By dealing with the looming financial issues head on, by embarking on a bold transformation agenda (something which has been put off by the current administration) we will save millions more of local tax payers’ money, protecting services and enabling us to invest in helping local businesses rebuild and enacting plans for regeneration across our three towns.
As we embark on rebooting our local economy, we are already in discussion with bodies from across the business sectors to turbo-charge our recovery. We look forward to continuing those discussions as well as those with councillors from all Parties and none as we finalise the new, can-do Council. We have some tough times ahead, and we need strong, undistracted leadership to take us through these rough waters.”