TWO members of Poole council’s cabinet have come out against controversial plans for a transit site for gypsies and travellers in the town.
But the pair will keep their posts in the cabinet – unlike colleague Cllr Judy Butt, who was sacked after opposing a planned site in her Creekmoor patch.
The members defying the council’s policy on the issue are Cllr Ian Potter, cabinet member for transport and regulatory services, and Cllr Janet Walton, cabinet member for children, families, youth services and public health.
Cllr Potter was only appointed to the cabinet last month after the sacking of Cllr Butt.
The borough is proposing two transit sites for travellers – one with 12 pitches at Marshes End, Creekmoor, and one with four pitches at land north of the B&Q car park at Broadstone Way. Cllrs Potter and Walton are both ward members for Oakdale and oppose the Broadstone Way plan.
They would only comment to the Daily Echo via an emailed statement, which said: “The Oakdale ward councillors were in favour of finding a temporary stopping place for gypsies and travellers, but we do not think that the proposed site along Broadstone Way, north of B&Q, is appropriate for planning and safety reasons and therefore do not support the recommendation.”
In response to a question about their future in the cabinet, they replied: “Any decision regarding cabinet positions is made by the leader and therefore it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”
Council leader Cllr Elaine Atkinson said her colleagues were entitled to oppose the sites.
“They’re allowed to do that – they’re ward councillors,” she said.
“There’s been some suggestion that, as they’re cabinet members, they should go the same way as Judy Butt, but Judy Butt wasn’t sacked for being in disagreement with the cabinet. She was sacked because she was the cabinet portfolio holder who had led the whole issue of how we dealt with the travellers.”
Cllr Butt had held meetings as cabinet member for public engagement and participation but had then opposed the site in her ward, Cllr Atkinson said.
“You can’t lead and challenge on something until it’s in your own back yard and then change your mind,” she said.