A FORMER mayor of St Ives claims people are being short-changed by party politics at town council level. Councillor Brian Luter s comments come after he resigned from the majority Conservative group on St Ives Town Council last week. Cllr Luter, 71, told
A FORMER mayor of St Ives claims people are being short-changed by party politics at town council level.
Councillor Brian Luter's comments come after he resigned from the majority Conservative group on St Ives Town Council last week.
Cllr Luter, 71, told The Hunts Post he will actively support independent candidates who want to stand for council in May's parish elections.
"It is not appropriate for Conservatives or Liberal Democrats to run local councils," said Cllr Luter, who will remain on the town council as an independent councillor until the May elections.
"It [party politics] imposes a style of approach that is not fair. The public do not get to hear the debate they should because discussions have already been taken in secret."
Cllr Luter said he had already decided he would not stand as a Conservative in the forthcoming elections before a meeting last week which prompted his decision to resign from the group. He described Conservative councillors voting against an amendment he had proposed to a motion regarding the St Ives Corn Exchange as "the final straw".
Cllr Luter said the amendment would have re-emphasised the council's commitment to refurbish the building, which has been closed since 2001.
"When there is a big issue, such as the Corn Exchange, the parties will decide what the line is. The public come in expecting to hear a debate and all they hear is a motion," Cllr Luter said.
He said he believes town and parish councils will gain more powers in coming years and said he hoped more independent candidates would come forward.
"It is about giving something back to the town," he said. "Some people help with the carnival, some do the Christmas lights and there is no reason why others cannot stand on the town council.
"I believe we have not had an independent councillor since 1996 and I would be very interested to hear from anyone who would consider standing unconstrained by party politics.
"People may believe they do not have time but as little as one evening a fortnight is all you need to commit."
Cllr Luter, who was mayor of St Ives in 2004, said he had not yet decided whether to seek re-election on May 1 and will consider the response to his comments from townspeople.
INFORMATION: Contact Cllr Luter on 01480 300963. For more on standing for St Ives Town Council, contact the town hall on 01480 388929. Do political affiliations have a place at town council level? E-mail yours views to email@example.com or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB. A view on local government - visit www.huntspost24.co.uk and click on columns.