Liberal Democrat councillor resigns from party to focus on planning policy
PUBLISHED: 10:35 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:13 31 May 2018
A long-serving councillor has resigned from the Liberal Democrat group on St Albans Council.
David Yates, who has represented Park Street ward since 2004, will remain as a councillor and has said he could re-run for the seat, which would pit him against his former party.
The former planning policy committee member said: “Last week I notified the chief executive of the district council that I no longer wish to be considered as a member of the Liberal Democrat group on the council.
“I was elected to the district council to serve the residents of St Albans, including those who live in the settlements outside the centre.
“I no longer believe the Liberal Democrat group on the council places sufficient emphasis on their best interests. It saddens me to see it concentrating its efforts on the centre of St Albans when so many of the acute issues in the district, such as the lack of suitable housing for local people and the need to release Green Belt to satisfy dubious government targets for building housing of any sort, primarily affect areas outside the centre.
“I have also resigned from the Liberal Democrat party.
“It was a very hard decision to make. I have supported the Liberal Democrat party since its formation and supported the Liberal party before then. If a week is a long time in politics, over forty years is a very long time indeed. The party that I joined, however, was liberal, democratic and tolerant. At present, I do not see either the local party or the council group exhibiting these characteristics.
“I believe that I can best represent the interests of residents by continuing as an Independent for the remainder of my term.”
Following the council elections earlier this month, the leaders of the party groups re-allocated committee positions for their group members.
The leader of the Liberal Democrat group Chris White said about Cllr Yates’ resignation: “It’s something that happens when you are allocating committee places.
“It’s important to move people on and I wanted a stronger team at planning as he had become out-of-touch with the Local Plan, but he was not having that.
“So there is no great principle there.”