Councillor leaves ruling coalition over ‘catalogue of catastrophic policy decisions’

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Julie Bagwell
BCP Council HQ at Bournemouth Town Hall

A COUNCILLOR left the coalition running BCP Council, citing a “catalogue of catastrophic policy decisions”.

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Hamworthy member Cllr Julie Bagwell resigned as a member of the Unity Alliance and said she would be free to vote for policies she deemed to be in the best interests of her constituents, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Her departure further reduces the size of the minority ruling coalition, which includes the Christchurch Independents group. It now comprises 34 out of 74 elected councillors.

Cllr Bagwell’s decision weakens the position of the administration which survived a vote of no confidence put forward by the Conservative opposition in June only by the casting vote of the council’s chairman.

Cllr Bagwell said: “Over the last 18 months l have witnessed the gradual and evident crumbling of the initial first aspirational vision of the Unity Alliance.

Cllr Julie Bagwell

“This, in my opinion, has been brought about by a lack of strategic leadership in the delivery of required policy and in real terms in a complete absence of a ‘transformation plan for the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’.

“The situation is compounded by the incompetence and inexperience of many portfolio holders [cabinet members], who have failed to deliver the basic requirements of their complex roles.”

BCP Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade said she was “sad and disappointed” by the decision.

“These have been a hugely challenging few months for the council and all our staff but we are securing real progress across a whole range of services and issues and making a positive difference to our communities,” she said.

The Conservative group was due to meet to discuss potential actions ahead of the next full council meeting on 15th September.

Its leader, Cllr Drew Mellor, said it was “no surprise” that some members of the coalition were considering leaving.

He said: “We need better leadership across the conurbation than we have experienced to date.”

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