A POOLE councillor has left the Conservative group, saying that opponents of the council’s actions are treated with “a disdain verging on contempt”.

Cllr Peter Pawlowski said he had been “at odds” with the group’s leadership over “its direction of travel” since the last election.

He has not joined any of the other opposition groups on the council but said he had left to focus on the issues facing people in his ward of Canford Cliffs.

A former strategic director at the council, Cllr Pawlowski was first elected in 2011 and had been the chairman of its planning committee.

He had opposed several “unnecessary” measures taken by the council including the introduction of on-street parking charges and local government reorganisation.

“I have been at odds with the group leadership regarding its direction of travel, actions and methods since the last election,” he said.

“I have attempted to change from within but realised some time ago the power of vested interests was firmly against any dissenting voice.

“I have opposed many of the unnecessary actions – closure of public toilets in parks, imposing parking charges on local streets, the sell-off of strategic assets which could and should be used to improve local amenity and the terms of the surrender of Poole council under the guise of local government reorganisation.

“When the public in Poole realise that they will be footing the entire bill for the latter they will rightly feel misled and be furious.”

“The council’s hard-earned reputation for openness and transparency has been seriously damaged with the general public, opposition councillors and dissenters in the Conservative group treated with a disdain verging on contempt.“I stood for election to make a contribution to local democracy not pursue my own narrow self-interest.”

Poole council leader Cllr Janet Walton said that she did not agree with Cllr Pawlowski’s views and that members tried to work for the “best interests of the public”.

“I don’t believe that members who are against local government reorganisation have been treated with disdain,” she said.

“It was a move supported by the majority of councillors who felt that it was the best way for us to go.

“I’m confident that the Conservative group in Poole have the very best interests of the public at the heart of what they do.” Cllr Pawlowski’s decision to leave the Conservative group was confirmed at Tuesday’s meeting of Poole council although he said he had removed himself “some time ago”. He added that he would “have more to say on these issues” in the coming weeks.