TWO Conservatives’ councillors around Bognor Regis have quit the group.
Adam Cunard announced on Tuesday (March 19) night he had resigned from Arun District Council’s ruling party to become an independent.
He was quickly followed by his mother, Sandra Daniells, the following morning.
Cllr Cunard has operated the Picturedrome cinema in Bognor Regis for five years.
This business interest has put him at odds with the Conservatives at Arun over their backing for a multiplex to be built on the Regis Centre site as part of the town’s regeneration scheme by St Modwen.
Cllr Cunard said: “I have been victimised by personal attacks and unpleasantness which has caused me unnecessary anxiety.
“I feel such an attitude does not represent the modern Conservative party. I feel my voice is not heard within the group, that there is a lack of communication and support and I feel very hurt by the way I have been treated by certain Conservative councillors.
“I have often felt that my views were not in accordance with the rest of the group, as I believe listening to the electorate is paramount.
“I have seen that, on many occasions, the group put their own views first. I also feel my voice is not listened to when I have ventured to make any representations.”
Cllr Daniells is a director of the Picturedrome’s operating company. She said: “I do not believe the Tory Arun group is doing its best for the people of Bognor, who I represent, because they are too politically motivated to make clear and sound judgments.
“As well as politically, certain Conservative councillors have been unpleasant and devious in their personal dealings with myself and my son. So, I no longer wish to be associated with them as a group.”
Cllr Cunard, 26, became one of Bersted’s three councillors on Arun in 2011. Cllr Daniells, 52, was elected to Arun ten years ago. She currently represents Orchard ward.
Their defections took the number of seat losses on Arun suffered by the Conservatives to three in a week after last Thursday’s Aldwick East by-election defeat. It left the council with 45 Conservative, five Liberal Democrat, three Labour and three independent members last night.
Cllr Cunard said another factor in his resignation was the way in which groups such as Bognor Regis Civic Society were treated.
He cited how the society’s recent petition of nearly 11,000 names demanding the Picturedrome be protected was ‘rejected out of hand’.
Both Cllr Cunard and Cllr Daniells said they still held Conservative views. They remain among the party’s members on Bognor Regis Town Council.
Arun’s Conservative leader Gillian Brown said: “Adam’s position as a district councillor within the Conservative group had already become untenable due to his conflicts of interest as the proprietor of the Picturedrome.
“His action to resign has pre-empted any decision that the group might have had to make.”
The same reasons applied to Cllr Daniells, she said.