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Accusations fly in council turf war
A TURF war has broken out among Winchester's city councillors.
Conservatives are furious that Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Tod is campaigning on an issue outside of his St Paul ward.
Cllr Tod has raised a petition for improvements to Stanmore Lane in St Luke ward, where potholes, the junction with Romsey Road, flooding and the danger to pedestrians has long been an issue for residents.
At Christmas a Lib Dem pamphlet was distributed featuring details of the appeal.
But things came to a head when the question was raised by conservative cllr Derek Green. The result was accusations flying in both directions.
Jamie Scott, conservative councillor for St Luke, said: “It's not on and I take exception to it. The pamphlet is misrepresentative in the way he's put himself down as though he's a ward councillor.
“Where do we draw the line if councillors feel its fine to go into other councillor's wards and do active work? Surely there's a balance?”
At a full council meeting on January 9, Tory and council leader Keith Wood waded in with suggestions of double standards.
He said: “Martin Tod is a relatively new councillor and maybe he doesn't know what's going on in other wards. I'm surprised this has happened.
“I find it ridiculous that people having stood up and complained quite bitterly about this only recently are now doing the same thing.”
But Mr Tod says the work to be done is a county council issue.
He said: “The issue itself is an important one, but the issues that the conservatives raise are irrelevant. There is no requirement for anybody to tell city councillors about county council issues. And this whole issue started because conservative councillors were holding meetings in city council wards, about city council issues and that is what triggered all of this in the first place.”
The Chronicle reported last year that residents had complained of half-hour waits in heavy traffic to enter Romsey Road from Stanmore Lane.
Hampshire County Council said it was looking in to the junction, with Cllr Mel Kendal, executive member for environment and transport saying the county hoped to implement a scheme in late 2013 or early 2014.