A SENIOR councillor has been accused of belittling one of Flintshire’s largest towns by saying it “doesn’t have a centre”.
Bistre East county councillor Richard Jones says he feels cabinet member Chris Bithell, councillor for Mold East, has shown a dismissive attitude towards Buckley after overhearing a comment made about the town at a public planning meeting this week.
During a discussion about a house on Mold Road, Buckley, near the town centre, being converted into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) Cllr Bithell, cabinet member for planning and public protection, was heard to say off-microphone “you haven’t got a town centre”.
Independent Cllr Jones has taken offence to the comment which he called “childish” and “dismissive” of Buckley, when efforts are being made to attract businesses and visitors to the town.
Cllr Jones took to the Buckley Development Forum on
Facebook to share his upset at the comment and told the Leader he felt Labour councillor Bithell should apologise.
He said: “The comment came from behind me while [fellow Buckley] Cllr Neville Phillips was speaking.
“The discussion was about it [HMO] actually being outside the town centre, so not within
walking distance of high street businesses, or near a transport route, so people living there would need cars.
“You don’t expect an executive member, a cabinet member, to make these kind of comments at a public meeting when we are trying to attract people to the town.
“He has made the comment off-air, but that is quite revealing in itself because it is obviously what he really thinks and I worry that is the attitude of some senior councillors to our town.
“It makes are jobs in promoting the town that much more difficult and I want people to know that.”
Cllr Bithell told the Leader said he stood by his comment which was made in the context of planning considerations and would not apologise, saying his County Hall colleague “needs to get a life”.
He said: “He [Cllr Jones] had been talking about the ‘Buckley core’, but how is that defined? Where is the centre of Buckley?
“How central it was [the development which was granted] was immaterial and we had no planning grounds on which to refuse it.
“He’s being silly, he needs to get a life and I’m not going to engage about this any further.
“I have no further comments to make on it.”