Fury over Local Plan led to dramatic resignation

The leader of Warwick District Council insists the Conservative party is not in turmoil despite announcing he will step down amid resignations over fury at plans for thousands of new homes.
Michael Doody, new Warwick District Council Exec Chairman.
08JUL102Michael Doody, new Warwick District Council Exec Chairman.
Michael Doody, new Warwick District Council Exec Chairman. 08JUL102

Cllr Michael Doody (Con, Radford) announced he would step down as leader after six years on December 4 due to ‘lack of loyalty and support’ from members of his party.

Explaining the decision, he said: “Some members made it clear that they did not want me as leader and I accepted that I wasn’t wanted. There are a number of members who have pretended to be my friend but have worked actively against me. I hope they will have cause to regret their disloyalty in the near future.”

Cllr Doody’s replacement will be voted in next month. But his decision is just the latest in a line of blows to the once ruling party after Warwick councillors Linda Bromley and Anne Mellor and Kenilworth’s John Dagg have all now left the group.

The losses, on top of Cllr Bob Dhillon’s suspension from the party means the Tory’s seats have dropped from 25 to 22, losing its majority on the council.

And it all boils down to rows and upset over the contentious local plan, which sets out a framework for development and will identify sites for as many as 14,500 new homes and industrial sites to be built over the next decade.

The government has stipulated the number of builds which must be taken on in the area and final figures for decision are expected to be announced any day now.

It could mean the council is headed for chaos as with the Conservatives losing control amid difficult decisions over the contentious plan.

So far at least 4,500 of the houses are proposed south of Warwick, Leamington and Whitnash, which has caused anger among members.

But Cllr Doody insists there is “no threat” to the party which must now ensure the best for the district. He told the Courier: “My decision to step down as leader is nothing like those who have decided to run to the Independents.

“There are a lot difficult decisions to make and they were elected as Conservatives to make those decisions.

“If you don’t like what is being proposed then the best place to be to change that is the party with control.

“But there is certainly no threat to the party and I am confident the new leader will be a Conservative.

“I don’t see why other parties would join together or want control. If they did then they would have to make these difficult decisions on the local plan just eighteen months before an election.

“Who would want to be in that position? These decisions are going to be very unpopular and we have to accept that.”

A new leader of the Conservative group is expected to be elected by November 11.