Many benefits to being independent councillor

I NOTE Coun Janet Sanderson says that she would have been better off financially if she had stood as an Independent (Gazette letters, November 14).

If she had stood as an independent, she would have had other advantages.

For example, she would not have felt obliged to follow the sheep who decided to grant permission for a supermarket on Wentworth Street car park.

She would not have had to share the blame and embarrassment of landing the council’s taxpayers with a bill for an order for costs which will be not much less than £200,000.

She would not have felt obliged to vote for a plan which imposes 2,000 new houses on Malton and Norton – towns which together have only just over 5,000 homes.

She would not have had to support her superiors in the decision to sell Norton’s bowling centre, which functions as Norton’s community centre.

This is what happens when wellmeaning members of the community join a political party instead of standing for election as independents.

No independent has any need to compromise their personal integrity.

She complains about the tactics of the Liberal group at the last council meeting. She makes a fundamental mistake. She thinks the public would be more impressed with Ryedale if its meetings were conducted like a company board meeting.

I have news for her. Very few people attend the shambles which is Ryedale District Council’s full meeting, and this one was a shambles before the Liberals even started to speak.

What people are aware of is the council’s decisions. They are appalled to find out that councillors like Janet have voted to put a superstore in Wentworth Street car park, have imposed so big an expansion on Malton and Norton, and have decided to sell the building which serves as Norton’s community centre.

The Tory group should have known they were going to get hammered at that meeting, following the receipt of the order for costs.

So Janet should not expect the public to condemn the Liberals for giving the ruling group the hammering they richly deserved.

It’s far more likely that people will say: “Well done, Liberals. Give them more. Make them suffer!”

There were only four Liberals at the meeting. The Tory group outnumbered them four to one. The Tories were soundly beaten, threw their toys out of the pram, and left the meeting in a sulk. They were in denial.

If they want to isolate the Liberals, the best way to go about it would be to show sensitivity in their decision making.

They could make a start by forcing their leader, Coun. Keith Knaggs to resign. Regrettably, a political group which leaves meetings when they can’t stand the criticism is hardly likely to have the courage to stand up to him.

Coun Paul Andrews, Independent

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