Lichfield cabinet member resigns

Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for major projects Councillor Liz Little has stepped down from the role citing a difference of opinion on council policy.

Councillor Liz Little
Councillor Liz Little

Her responsibilities will now be divided between other existing cabinet members. Council leader Doug Pullen will take over in the lead cabinet member role for the Lichfield City Centre Masterplan assisted by Councillor Andy Smith.

He is currently cabinet member for innovation, commercialisation and corporate services.

Meanwhile deputy council leader Iain Eadie will take over as lead cabinet member for the project to build a new leisure centre in Lichfield, doing to his portfolio which includes visitor economy and the Local Plan.

Explaining her decision, Councillor Little said she disagreed with the number and locations of new housing developments planned for the district and that she would continue to voice her concerns from the back benches.

She said: “I know we have a duty to cooperate, however I think there’s a reasonable point where you can push back on that and say, actually, you know, just because we’ve got an obscene amount of greenbelt in Lichfield it doesn’t mean you can take on all the [requirement for] houses from Birmingham and all of Black Country also.

“We are quite fortunate in Lichfield that we’ve got such an amount of greenbelt and I think that should be protected, and so should the heritage of Lichfield.”

Asked whether this meant she had considered leaving the Conservative party and crossing the floor, she said: “It depends how it goes over the next few months I guess.

“I do agree with most of the Conservatives’ policies, it’s just I disagree with this particular policy on the housing allocation.”

Councillor Pullen said: “Liz has done a great job in both the leisure and waste portfolio and tackling the major projects brief and I wholeheartedly thank her for all the excellent work she has done in challenging priority areas for the council.

“I’d like to wish Liz the very best for the future.”

He added: “I will be looking set out a clear vision for the Birmingham Road Site by this Christmas, and funding routes to deliver that vision by spring 2022.”

Councillor Little said she was comfortable that the projects she has been leading would not be affected as a result of her decision to step back.

She said: “The leisure centre project is far enough down the road now, and I’m quite happy that it’s going in the right direction.

“The Birmingham Road Site and the other developments are ongoing projects, so there probably would’ve become a time where I would’ve stepped back anyway and somebody else would’ve taken over. That’s the nature of politics.”

Speaking about what progress there had been on the proposed new leisure centre project, Cllr Little said: “I took that on when I was leisure portfolio holder back in 2019, and it’s good to see the plans properly taking shape and they’re imminently due to be putting in planning applications and stuff like that for the site.”

She said of her relationships with others in the cabinet: “I’m not going to lie, I do have issues with a certain person within the cabinet, and I think people have alluded to that fact.

“But, each to their own, we’re not always going to get on all of the time.”

She concluded: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the cabinet and working with Doug and I think he’s a fantastic leader, but there came a point where I felt I needed to step back.

“I will carry on fighting for issues such as the local plan, and even if we can’t change the local plan at least our residents’ voices will’ve been heard.

“At the end of the day that’s what we’re elected to do and that’s what I stood for when I stood back in 2019.”

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News