Labour say email proves Conservatives are playing party politics over Burntwood town deal

A Labour councillor has hit back at claims her call for a Burntwood town deal was only designed to win votes at the county elections.

The Leader of Burntwood Town Council, Cllr Richard Mosson, had said any such deal would be a distraction from the future development of the area.

Cllr Richard Mosson

Cllr Richard Mosson

He added that the previous administration had “mastered the art of winning votes out of negative campaigning” and accused them of “hampering the town’s progress in order to win votes”.

But Labour counterpart Cllr Sue Woodward has hit back at Cllr Mosson’s claims, accusing him of “playing political games”.

“I think it is a great pity that Cllr Mosson is failing to capitalise on devolution opportunities and playing political games instead,” she said.

“At national level and at county council level, politicians of all parties are working together to do get the best deals for their communities. Meanwhile, opportunities for our town are being lost.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

“On Monday last week, he told me he was still keen to go ahead with a town deal but had been too busy to set up a meeting. Then, I learn of his reversal through his tirade to LichfieldLive. In my view, this is not only discourteous to partners who he had not informed of his decision and nor is it the way serious and mature politicians behave.

“I am therefore releasing an email which Cllr Mosson inadvertently copied to me in September which shows his real agenda – putting party politics above the needs of the town.”

In his email to Staffordshire County Council’s Conservative leader Cllr Philip Atkins, Cllr Mosson reveals how Burntwood Town Council had appointed a company to undertake a neighbourhood plan.

He wrote:

“As long we can keep a town deal under the reins of the controlling parties then we could potentially dovetail a town deal into part of the plan and our town strategy.

“Lichfield District Council are already liaising with LCP [London & Cambridge Properties], so in essence we are already up and running to a degree.

“I agree that a plan of action in writing is a better course, I am sure we can all benefit from some positive press – county, district and town councils working together for the good of Burntwood, all Conservative led.

“As long as ownership is retained by the controlling groups at all three tiers this can only help us win back those Burntwood North and South seats in 2017.”

Cllr Mosson admitted he he had been “caught playing a little party politics” but insisted the Conservatives should be able to take advantage of any success they bring to the town.

“Why would we not want to use the fact that we are working hard to deliver in Burntwood to win back the two county seats lost in 2013?” he said.

“But hands up, I have quite clearly been caught playing a little party politics. But at the end of the day we all do it – I would imagine even Cllr Woodward has sent the odd email of a party political nature.

“The email states that if we were to set up a town deal we would need to ensure that we keep it under the reins of the controlling parties. Is that not what you do when you are in control?

“It was sent prior to an initial meeting between councillors from both sides which was held to discuss the proposed town deal. Nothing really came from the meeting as my group were already working closely with officers and in discussion with landowners.

“The controlling group in Burntwood decided that a town deal was a distraction with no real traction. We prefer to just get on with things. Meeting after meeting just slows progress.

“The town deal idea is just that – an idea. It seemed to appear out of nowhere after the controlling Conservative group at Burntwood Town Council arranged a meeting with a representative of LCP and all councillors, including Cllr Woodward, to discuss potential plans for two sites in Burntwood.

“Therefore I ask again, what will it actually achieve over an above the good work which has already started?”

But Cllr Woodward insisted the email showed a glimpse of the future for Burntwood.

She said: “The town council has always been characterised by working across party political lines to do the best for Burntwood. Under Cllr Mosson’s leadership, this seems to have been thrown out of the window.

“Personally, I feel more sorrow than anger, though others in the town may feel differently.”

The Conservatives took control of Burntwood Town Council in the local elections earlier this year.

Cllr Mosson has questioned the motives behind Labour’s decision to release his email.

“The email was not sent or forwarded inadvertently by myself and was sent privately and in confidence to Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council and to two other parish councillors.

“How Cllr Woodward obtained this email was no fault of mine and suggests there is a serious question about confidentiality here.

“I think Cllr Woodward is still trying very hard to come to terms with the fact that they were crushed in May’s election. People were fed up of the same old faces who did, as I have said before, nothing.”

 

 

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

6 Comments

  1. FiveSpiresLive

    9th December, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    This is all very entertaining for the rest of us, but the citizens of Burntwood could be excused for demanding that their councillors all shut the [ ] up and get on with the jobs they were elected (or not) to do.

  2. Steve Norman

    9th December, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    If you’re elected you’re supposed to do your job and ensure the Nolan principles of public office are upheld.
    If you are not elected like Lichfield’s @FiveSpiresLive,or me, you should still be concerned about what your local authorities are doing.
    In the case of Burntwood Town Council I’d encourage all electors to keep an eye on this Leader who doesn’t have the support he thinks he has amongst his own party members.

  3. Sue woodward

    9th December, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with 5 Spires. That’s exactly what I want to do and have always worked with politicians on all sides for the benefit of the town. That’s what sensible politicians do. End of. Unfortunately, the current Leader at BTC prefers to play politics and exclude all but a small group around him who work on the principle that everything he does/says is good and everything the Labour opposition group says must, by definition, be bad. Let’s all hope, for the sake of the town, that he grows out of it quickly. He certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas.

    Interestingly, the Conservative Leaders at both Lichfield Dustrict and Staffordshire County Councils have got a bit more about them and want to continue to press for a Town Deal, whether or not the Leader of BTC does. That can only be good news for Burntwood.

  4. Rob

    9th December, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    “I think Cllr Woodward is still trying very hard to come to terms with the fact that they were crushed in May’s election.”
    Nail on head.

  5. Nomad

    11th December, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I’m begging to fail to see the difference between either parties

  6. Michael

    11th December, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Rob, if Sue Woodward was no longer a cllr and just bitter at being voted off your remarks might hold truck, but as it stands she is still a cllr and had a duty to us who vote to inform us of any wrongdoings or things which are going under the wire. Your remarks are just flag waving for your chosen political party and show you have no concept of thinking outside your chosen party’s dogma. Which is a shame.