A CONSERVATIVE city councillor stormed out of a meeting after he was criticised by a senior Liberal Democrat.

Tory Michael Kurn was unhappy at comments made by Martin Tod over the proposed new car park at The Dean in Alresford.

Cllr Michael Kurn told Cabinet that there was unhappiness in the town about consultation: "At Alresford business users don't feel consulted on the Dean. Large parts of that community feel ignored.. The car park is vital work for Alresford and so has to be right. I urge proper consultation on those decisions."

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Cllr Martin Tod said: "I don't agree with Cllr Kurn's points that he made. We did not ignore his points, we pointed out where they were factually incorrect and that is not the same thing. If he is not able to cope with factual criticism of inaccuracies in your argument well that is a matter for you but you may find it hard to get the traction you want in council decision making."

Cllr Kurn then abruptly left the meeting, prompting Conservative group leader Caroline Horrill to say: "Cllr Kurn left because the way Cllr Tod spoke and he had no right. It brings this council in to disrespect and it was not appropriate."

Council leader Lucille Thompson replied: "I don't think Cllr Tod was in any way rude to Cllr Kurn."

Cllr Tod was pointing out that criticism of the Lib Dem council came from Alresford Chamber of Commerce which has a Tory city councillor, Fiona Isaacs as its chairman.

He denied there had been a lack of consultation with the chamber but that they had asked that the council only consult with them and not with local residents or the Alresford Society.

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The Cabinet agreed to invest £1million on the new car park which will now provide 42 spaces instead of 47 to allow for better public access.

The city council is also entering into a new management agreement with Alresford Town Council over the Arlebury Park car park. A charge is to be introduced on a Saturday in line with the other car park in the town.

After the meeting, Cllr Kurn said: “Since joining the council I have been concerned with the tone in which some councillors respond to comments from the public and other councillors who are expressing the view of residents we are elected to represent. The code of conduct states that councillors should 'listen to the interests of all parties' and we should champion the needs of all residents – the whole community including those who did not vote for them - and putting the interests of residents first.

“Sadly not for the first time I have been spoken to in a condescending manner and demeaning tone which is not adhering to that code. I was representing the views of concerned residents so does Cllr Tod also wish to tell the electorate they are wrong?”


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