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Labour councillor hits out at “dismissive” response from Lichfield District Council’s Conservative leader over failure to share Friarsgate report

A Labour councillor has hit back at what he claims are “dismissive” comments from the leader of Lichfield District Council.

It comes after Cllr Colin Ball and Lib Dem counterpart Cllr Paul Ray criticised a report over the future of land earmarked for Friarsgate was not shared with non-Conservative members of the Birmingham Road Site working group.

The report was originally issued on 16th March and was not forwarded until 29th March to other political groups.

In media comments, Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, accused his political rivals of spending “most of their energy attacking everything we do, without ever putting forward any credible alternatives”.

But Cllr Ball said the response was “disappointing”.

Colin Ball
Colin Ball

He added: “Both Cllr Ray and I have made many positive suggestions for the future of the former Friarsgate site at the Birmingham Road Site working group meetings. 

“Cllr Wilcox’s view is simply not true.  It was I who suggested the cross party working group in the first place during the Curborough by-election campaign in June 2018.  It took Cllr Wilcox until October to act on this suggestion and set it up.”

Cllr Ball said form had shown that the Conservatives were not genuinely interested in debate or co-operation.

“I have made many positive contributions at scrutiny committees, suggesting changes and improvements to proposals before us,” he said. “However, not all the other, mainly Conservative, councillors take scrutiny seriously and I have often been barracked at these committees and at full council meetings.

“In addition, Cllr Sue Woodward had made a ‘credible alternative’ suggestion at the last council meeting – a budget amendment which would have meant an extra £1 million for Burntwood and £700,000 for our rural areas – and the Conservatives dismissed this out of hand with no real discussion.”

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