Rugby borough councillor for Dunchurch and Knightlow quits Conservative group to become independent

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CONSERVATIVE councillor Howard Roberts will now sit as an independent after leaving the political group.

Howard Roberts announced his decision to leave the Conservative group and sit as an independent councillor yesterday (Monday).

Cllr Roberts says he has left the party because he fears that Coalition Government planning policy will lead to massive over-development of his rural ward.

Cllr Roberts, a member of the Borough Council’s planning committee said: “The development plans for this town could potentially destroy the villages I represent. Remaining a Conservative councillor would mean putting a political party before my constituents; I cannot do that.”

Cllr Roberts’ fears over planning policy is well known, he spoke out against the Government’s new proposed planning policy this summer, writing an eight page letter setting out the reasons why he believed it would decimate the villages he represents.

Cllr Roberts said: “I do not have a bad word to say about the Conservative group as people. Many of them remain my firm friends. However, they know that I have come to believe that I am a better councillor as an Independent – I hope that they realise there is nothing personal about my decision.”

Cllr Roberts added: “My political goals have not changed. I will always listen to the people who I represent, and they tell me they do not want thousands of homes built in the Warwickshire countryside.

“I have already received dozens of supportive messages about my decision and I hope that I can use my independence to campaign against the over zealous developers who will be emboldened by the new Planning Policy Framework.”