The controversial brown bin saga in South Ribble has claimed its first victim.
READ MORE: Garden bins take-up is just one in four
Coun David Bird has quit the ruling Conservative group, claiming it has broken its promise to electors not to bring in charges for garden waste.
Coun Bird (pictured) is to continue on the authority as an independent. But his departure leaves the Tories with the slenderest of majorities just a week before the council votes on next year’s budget.
The councillor for Howick and Priory Ward in Penwortham told the Post there had also been other issues which contributed to his decision. But the row over charging for bin collections had been the “final straw.” “I’ve not been happy with the decision-making process over the last 12 months,” he revealed. “It’s come to a head and I couldn’t remain any longer. I’m sad, but it’s been a difficult 12 months and I’ve really been at loggerheads (with the group) over a number of issues I have disagreed with. I can imagine it puts them in a very difficult position, but I had to do something.”
Coun Bird, who was elected in May 2015, said his campaigning literature at the time - and that of other Tory candidates - stated there would not be a charge for garden waste collection. He said he was “coerced” by his party into voting for its introduction last year on the understanding the council would do everything in its power to find an alternative.
“I don’t believe that was ever their intention,” he said. “And now I’ve had enough.”
Tory council leader Coun Peter Mullineaux said: “At this time I’m not really willing to comment.”