‘You can’t be precious’ – reshuffle is defended

Former Ukip councillor joins city Conservatives

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CIVIC leaders have defended their decision to take two councillors off Havant’s planning committee.

As reported, Hayling Councillor Mike Wilson and Emsworth Cllr Brendan Gibb-Gray, both Conservatives, spoke of their concerns after being taken off Havant Borough Council’s development management committee.

But Tony Briggs, Conservative council leader, told The News: ‘Quite frankly there are 38 members. They need to share things around.

‘We need to share things around and train other people to do important jobs.’

Cllr David Guest, deputy leader, stressed that the committee had a new chairwoman, Elaine Shimbart, among several reshuffles.

He said: ‘The committee needs to change constantly to refresh it.

‘There are other members who want to go on there.

‘We are constantly looking for new blood.’

He said there was ‘no sinister motive’, adding that no councillor’s job was guaranteed, apart from the leader who is elected every four years.

He said the job of any planning committee member was to be strategic – and therefore follow the adopted Local Plan – as well as be objective and impartial.

Cllr Guest added: ‘None of us have the right to a job whatsoever. You are put there by the leader considering the needs of everybody. There are 38 councillors. You can’t be precious.’