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“My self interest would have been better served by staying on the gravy train” – former Conservative councillor hits back at comments by leader of Lichfield District Council

A councillor who resigned has hit back at her party’s leader on Lichfield District Council by accusing him of reducing her departure to a “point-scoring” exercise.

Joanne Grange

Joanne Grange

Joanne Grange resigned from the local authority after a row over a planning application in the city.

She accused the council of ignoring its own guidelines by approving the construction of a new property on Gaiafields Road – a decision she said had made her position untenable as she prepares to join other residents in fighting the decision.

But Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said he was “extremely disappointed” by Miss Grange’s actions.

He said: “Being a councillor gives you the opportunity to contribute along with colleagues in challenging and debating those areas where you think this is required, rather than stepping away and trying to influence from outside of the council.

“Sometimes as councillors we have to rise above our self interest and accept that we will not always win the particular argument, but what we do is to continue in our role.”

But Miss Grange hit back at Cllr Wilcox’s suggestion that she had put self-interest first.

“I am disappointed that the leader of the council has tried to reduce this to a point-scoring exercise by omitting to mention the times I tried to raise concerns,” she said.

“I’m also disappointed that he believes I was acting out of self interest. This is not the case.

“The accusation that I have resigned through self interest is incorrect, and I am surprised that Cllr Wilcox thinks this given he knows me reasonably well.

“If I was focused on self interest it would have been easy to remain as a councillor, accept that I can raise issues but they won’t be listened to, and not challenge the status quo.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

“My self interest would probably have been better served by accepting this, eating the biscuits and remaining on the gravy train.”

Cllr Wilcox had also claimed Miss Grange had not sought to raise her concerns over the planning issues before announcing her resignation.

But the former Stowe ward councillor has accused the Conservative leader of having a short memory.

“He is perhaps forgetting the four page email I sent on March 27 where I explained the issues that were being encountering with the process and seeking advice, as a new councillor, about how I could reassure residents that the process would be followed correctly and fairly and in line with Lichfield District Council policies,” she said.

“I am doubly surprised he has forgotten this, because I reminded him yesterday that I had tried to raise my concerns.

“He perhaps also forgets the subsequent meeting I had with him and a member of council staff where none of the issues I had raised were taken seriously.

“He maybe also forgets the conversation I had with Cllr Ian Pritchard on March 29, which I am sure was reported back to him, where I said I did not want to talk directly to the planning team about this particular application as it would be incorrect for me to have direct involvement, and that my concerns were raised about the process that was being followed rather than the specifics of the matter at hand.

“He maybe didn’t see the follow up email I sent to Cllr Pritchard on March 29, explaining further where I felt that the process and guidelines weren’t being followed, and in particular that I felt the council had an opportunity to get the process back on track.

“He will be unaware of the many conversations I have had with colleagues on both Lichfield City Council and District Council about the planning department, and he will also be unaware of the responses I have received to my resignation letter where colleagues are agreeing with my concerns.”

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11 Comments

  1. Philip Allso

    1st August, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    What on earth is this all about? As well as rising above self interest they should all be rising above Party Politics! We want a council which serves local people in an equitable way. We would be better off if they were all independents. The last thing we want is an administration with vested or self interest, especially with an Ozymandes at the helm. Although looking around Lichfield it might be the impression you get. Our MP?, council officers and the DLC are performing like a farce at the Garrick. It is getting embarrassing and the backbiting is only making the situation worse. Shut up, Grow up and do what you were elected to do or move aside….PLEASE!

  2. Steven Norman

    1st August, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Shouldn’t Mr Fabricant be defending the Leader as he presumably did at their last Group meeting although as the nation knows he was Tweeting instead of listening?

  3. nellygb

    1st August, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Not forgotten just selective memory. Given the lies told by those at the top of politics in Lichfield surrounding the demise of Tempest Ford car dealership and both twat gate and pig gate why does he think anyone believes anything he utters????????

    I know who I believe.

  4. Eric.N.Drinkwater

    1st August, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    What a great pity that someone who understands the planning system feels she had to resign over this issue. She would have served the public better by getting herself onto the planning committee where some of us have been fighting injustice and bad advice for many years

  5. Steve

    2nd August, 2018 at 8:10 am

    @eric isn’t that the problem? People who know what they are doing, will ask awkward questions. The truth may escape.

    Far better to have a group of people who will say yes, to every stupid idea the leader has.

    As for having a short memory. It is a major issue in the local area. Fab uses the word Twat on the Adrian Goldberg show in 2013 and on Twitter in 2013, then by 2018 claims he had never heard the word before on the Adrian Goldberg show and on Twitter and we are supposed to believe it.

    In the future people will look at photos of Lichfield and say who allowed it to be destroyed and all of its beauty lost. The answer is Wilcox and Fabricant.

  6. Strumpet

    4th August, 2018 at 7:35 am

    So, she becomes a councillor after finding out there’s a new house being built over the road from her, which she doesn’t like and non of her friends do either, then spends 6 months ( with pay) whining that the planners won’t do what she wants, then huffs off all miffed because ‘the process’ has failed to get her what she wants?

    I’ve looked at the plans for that new house and can’t see any problem. The objections are ridiculous and were rightly dismissed by planning. It smacks of certain types of people who believe a good old petition and 4 page email is enough to get you what you want. Well, welcome to our world Mrs, where nobody listens and you rarely win. Nimbyism at it’s finest.

  7. Debbie S

    4th August, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Strumpet maybe you need to check your facts out before making comments. Cllr Grange did not become a Cllr to object and the complaint are about processes not being followed.
    I can only assume that your are qualified to assess plans and objections when you know nothing about the people or the plans impact? If not keep your comments to yourself. Your acceptance of the status quo and injustice is what is bringing this city down.

  8. Strumpet

    6th August, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Perhaps you need to read what i wrote again. I didn’t say she became a cllr to object about the planning, i said she became a cllr after finding out about said planning, or are you saying she didn’t know anything about it before becoming a cllr? There’s a big difference.
    I’ll also add that anyone who becomes a cllr and leaves after 6 months is wasting everyones time.
    The only acceptance of injustice is by Lichfied people that vote conservative ( I use that term loosely) and I’ll continue with my valid opinions about conservative councillors and their crippling decisions that have been inflicted on Lichfield.

    In the grand scheme of things, i find a petty planning issue just that, petty. Poverty, homelessness, food banks, poor prospects, universal credit and lack of buses are just a few issues the 6 month councillor could of chosen to publicise perhaps?

  9. Philip Allso

    8th August, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Strumpet, The planning department do have a terrible record of asking for comments and then ignoring them. Legislation probably makes them go through a process they have no intention of considering. I have some difficulty with the accusation of NIMBYism. A bit like HS2, while some may argue it is ‘for the Greater Good’ there are many more who will have their properties blighted and will get no benefit from its construction. Other developments do alter the amenity status of an area. The Fish and Chip shop near me now makes its presence known by its smell. I don’t mind fish and chips but I could do without the smell most days! A friend from Sutton had both adjacent properties purchased by Birmingham council who then rented them to ‘problem’ families. Her life was hell and she suffered poor health as a result. If there are legitimate reasons for complaint then I don’t think that unreasonable. Many aspects of your comments I agree with, and the council’s relentless support of any commercial proposition regardless of the impact it might have is depressing. If I am a NIMBY because I want to preserve what attracted me to the city in the first place, then so be it.

  10. Stowe Resident

    10th August, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Fair to say there is a difference between self-interest for money and self-interest as a councillor. It would appear Joanne Grange can not tell this difference. Wilcox is right and Joanne has acted in her own self-interest rather than the residents of Stowe.

    Sorry, but that’s the brutal truth. Wilcox never said she was a councillor for the money, just there are bigger things. Shame another election will be underway for Stowe at the fault of the former councillor. Disappointing.

  11. Strumpet

    11th August, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I understand that Philip, particularly as I’ll be affected by HS2 and there’s planning permission being requested for an air strip next to my house! What i won’t be doing is to become a councillor to fight those issues as i don’t think councillors should be on a paid personal mission for their own grievances.
    Plus i don’t think the planning rules on this occasion are wrong. Its a 1950s bungalow thats going to be a dormer bungalow! I’d understand if there were plans for a few houses squeezed in, or some ghastly lego estate, but its a bungalow.

    My beef is only that Ms Grange stayed in the council for 6 months, trained and paid for by us – to what end? To tell everyone that planners are crap? Completely pointless exercise and a costly one.
    I’m also bemused when a conservative is negatively affected by conservative polices. They’re the ones giving the green light to every new build.

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