New Conservative leader Geoffrey Theobald has set out some pressing questions for the Greens as they take over running Brighton and Hove City Council.
Councillor Theobald, who replaced Mary Mears as Tory group leader last week, asked about spending cuts, parking policy and fortnightly bin collections.
He said: “Exactly how are they going to ‘stop the cuts’ as they promised residents on the doorstep?
“They will have to make savings in the council budget of over £50 million over the next thtree years and simply blaming the government won’t make this go away.
“Will they be bringing in blanket 20 mph speed limits across the city?
“Will they be discouraging car use in Brighton and Hove?
“Will they introduce congestion charging, higher parking charges, less city centre and residents’ parking spaces and more car-free development?
“Will unlawful gypsy and traveller encampments and van dwellers now be tolerated in places like 39 Acres, Wild Park and Black Rock?
“Will the promised new food waste collection lead to fortnightly bin collections and how will this be paid for?
“Will the council’s new strategic directors be booted out as the Greens promised at great cost to the council tax payer?
“Are they still committed to free insulation for every house in the City and, if so, how would this be paid for?”
Councillor Theobald also said that the Greens had an anti-business image and that some party members had been openly hostile to some businesses in Brighton and Hove.
He raised the prospect of the Greens introducing a workplace parking levy and a business education tax.
And he added that this would be of concern to companies such as American Express which employed more than 3,000 people in the Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Theobald said: “The Greens have had a very good election result and I genuinely wish them the best of luck as they take on the difficult task of running the council.
“We will be a responsible opposition and will back them when we believe it is in the best interests of the city.
“But we will also challenge them robustly where we believe it is necessary.
“They do now need to start answering some of the questions that residents and businesses will understandably want answers to very quickly.
“Conservatives are very proud of the achievements of the last four years – sorting out the council’s finances and keeping council tax down, transforming the city’s parks and gardens, bringing new investment into our housing stock, increasing primary school places and delivering two new academy schools as well as helping local businesses through the recession.
“And while councils up and down the country are making cuts to frontline services we have protected all our libraries, Sure Start children’s centres, bus services, public toilets, leisure centres and budgets for voluntary organisations.
“I hope that the Greens don’t unravel all this good work.”
Councillor Theobald will have a chance to press for answers when the new council meets for the first time tomorrow (Thursday 19 May).
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