The leader of Ribble Valley Council has today hit back at Clitheroe Residents Action Group after it called for a vote of 'no confidence' on him.
In a statement issued to the Clitheroe Advertiser, Coun. Ken Hind said: "The Clitheroe Action Group is misleading the public on what is happening in relation to Clitheroe Market Quarter development project and calling for a "no confidence" motion on the council leader when the decision was made by the majority of all 40 councillors.
Claiming that CRAG "does not understand" the procedure in the council Coun. Hind added: "It is a committee system in which councillors vote on all the key issues which are subsequently ratified by full council of which every councillor is a member.
"The spokesman for CRAG, Steve Rush, who is a past chairman of UKIP and a previous councillor candidate in the Salthill and Littlemoor wards, firstly for UKIP then as an Independent, is trying to turn CRAG into a political party, whereas in fact some present councillors share its views on the market development.
"It should not become a political issue as what we decide is for the benefit of the community and we should all be working collaboratively for the good of Clitheroe.
''In relation to the market development the Ribble Valley Borough Council went into camera, or part two as it is called, in full council to decide if it progresses with Barnfield Construction.
"It was decided they would do so, in principle, and a majority voted to negotiate with Barnfield to finalise the design, negotiate a contract and agree costings.
"There is therefore no final design as yet to put before the public.
"Until design negotiations are completed and some of the issues raised by councillors in debate are addressed, no final decision to go ahead with the project will be made.
"Ribble Valley Borough Council may decide not to go ahead if the council is not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations.
"The council went into camera to discuss the way forward on the advice of the officers and the borough solicitor because, as explained above, these negotiations are continuing and the project remains commercially sensitive.
"All designs proposals are created for Barnfield Construction and as such belong to them exclusively at this stage.
"CRAG is suggesting that there should be another consultation.
"To date there has been a wide ranging consultation including Clitheroe residents, customers, various groups including the market traders, Chamber of Trade, the Civic Society and others. The proposals currently being considered in negotiations are as a result of listening to a wide range of people.
"Nothing is being kept from the public as there is nothing yet finalised.
"Since the debate in council there have been meetings with the market traders' steering committee in which I explained the way forward and their role in the process together with representatives from the Chamber of Trade.
"The traders needed to know the process and direction decided by the majority of RVBC councillors which was duly presented to them.
"No insult to Coun. Ian Brown but if he had attended this meeting every other Clitheroe councillor would rightly have demanded to be present also. These meetings had been promised for some time.
"To reiterate, CRAG clearly does not understand that RVBC is based on committees and all councillors vote
"The leader of the Council has one vote and is only the first among equals. These were decisions democratically made by a majority of RVBC councillors both in committee and full council.
"When they invite people to call for a no confidence vote in the leader of the Council they need to do so in relation to the majority of councillors.
"Of the five councillors who have left the Conservative Group, two originally approved awarding the original tender to Barnfield Construction in November, 2015 which included the three storey hotel.
"A third member was chairman of the working group on the project, and the fifth voted to go into camera with a lot of other councillors.
"Only two of the five were not present in the full council debate and gave their apologies for absence."