WINCHESTER Tories branded as "shabby political prank" an opposition amendment to tighten financial controls.

The Liberal Democrats claimed that budget-setting at the city council this spring was hampered by "grossly inaccurate" figures.

Lib Dem councillor Malcolm Price said greater clarity was needed.

But council leader Caroline Horrill countered: "I'm astounded at this amendment. It is not a real or honest attempt to enhance decision-making."

Fellow Tory Cllr Stephen Godfrey said: "This is no more than a shabby political prank and shows a poor understanding of of public accounting."

But Lib Dem councillor Martin Tod said: "I wasn't elected to be a cheerleader for the Conservatives. Our job is the challenge and identify ways that things can be done better. This is something where more needs to be done."

The Lib Dem amendment was defeated by 15 to 21votes.

Meanwhile a grant of £720,000 will go to the county council towards flood defence measures at Durngate, the final piece in the scheme for the city centre which has included Park Avenue.

Cllr Linda Gemmell asked whether the surplus in car parking meant the council was "fleecing drivers."

Cllr Guy Ashton, portfolio holder for finance, said it was a very popular and valuable service with the surpluses going to developing parking such as park and ride

Cllr Jamie Scott welcomed the £41,000 being earmarked for a multi-use games area (MUGA) off Cromwell Road in south Stanmore.

Cllr Rose Burns said the £100,000 proposed for the open space at Hillier Way in Abbotts Barton would create a "fantastic community facility... what is a wasteland will be transformed."

It follows the current development of houses on nearby open space. Both schemes have yet to receive final approval.