I SALUTE Coun Keith Knaggs’s decision to step down as leader of the Conservative group on Ryedale District Council.

I first met Keith following my reelection to the council in 1999. He welcomed me to the council and treated me with the mutual respect afforded to fellow councillors.

I soon knew Keith for his wise judgement on various issues, especially planning, that he contributed to the council, though I did not always agree with him.

More recently I have found myself completely at odds with some of the Conservative group’s ideas.

Sadly, since the 2011 election when Conservative numbers reached a point where the Conservative members formed 66 per cent of the council, it has sometimes appeared that there were issues debated at the Conservative group pre-meetings and decisions made to be supported by the group before being put to full council for debate, ie the decision to close Ryedale Bowls Club, not to mention the infamous planning meeting regarding Malton livestock market and Wentworth Street car park, when debate in public was openly vetoed by the chairman of the planning committee.

Are such actions down to Coun Knaggs, or was the ‘dog being wagged by the tail’?

I lost my confidence in the Conservative group when one of their senior members told me that ‘they’ would like to see a big hole open up and swallow the whole of Malton so that more time could be spent on the other towns.

Do they feel like this as a ‘group’?

I know this idea is not supported by each member, but can they only express themselves as a group?

I ask what future is there for Malton and Norton under Conservative ‘rule’?

Brian Maud, Independent Rillington Ward Member on Ryedale District Council