I respect Robert McLaren’s decision to join Conservatives, but I’m disappointed with his inaccurate comments

I am disappointed with Councillor Robert McLaren’s inaccurate comments in your December 12 edition.

I respect his decision to switch his political allegiance from Lib Dem to Independent and now Tory but let’s put the record straight.

Only recently Robert was on the verge of being dismissed from Wisbech Town Council for non-attendance of almost six months. I persuaded him to stay on so that he and I could continue to work together and give the people of Walsoken a voice.

With regard to his comments about councillors who “are negative and only there for personal political gain”, I agree and that’s why I’m surprised he has now become a Tory:

1. It was Paul Clapp, UKIP county councillor, who stood beside him gathering signatures for the Walsoken crossing petition. No Tory councillors supported it, In fact they spoke against the petition.


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2. I fully supported the zebra crossing petition and drove Robert to Cambs County Council in order for him to present it.

3. All the Independent councillors fully supported the Walsoken zebra crossing bid at town council and could not understand why Robert allowed the Conservatives to present rather than himself. The Independents even encouraged this councillor to take the credit we felt he duly deserved.

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4. Unfortunately Robert walked out of our regular Walsoken surgery rather than engage with residents, the Roddons staff and the Fenland District Council officer because he did not agree with the way the meeting was being conducted. Many of the problems raised at that meeting have been resolved including the Fenland road potholes.

5. I continue to hold surgeries for residents with Roddons/Circle Anglia and Fenland Council officers. Robert fails to attend.

6. Robert refused to support a 20mph speed limit in residential areas, yet he put up posters on bollards in Walsoken telling people to slow down.

With regard to Jasmine Park and the need for play equipment, I have had numerous meetings with the Fenland Council leader as well as the cabinet member with responsibility for open spaces and parks, and I continue to push for this funding for my ward.

Although it can be frustrating, things do not happen overnight and no political party has a magic wand to wave that will grant you all your wishes.

With regards Robert’s Christmas decoration competition in our ward - apart from cheap publicity - what will this actually achieve for the people of Walsoken?

With regards the “Conservatives get things done” comment - the very state of our town suggests otherwise.

The town’s Christmas lights, whilst great for the few days they are there, were paid for by our residents’ council tax rather than a lights appeal carried out over the year - which was agreed at town council but not undertaken by the Tory councillor who said he would do it.

The £30,000 set aside should not have been necessary. It does not add up much to actually improving the state of our town, particularly when Wisbech Foodbank is in such demand.

I have no doubt that following the publication of this letter I will receive the usual tirade of abuse from some of Robert’s new best friends on social media - after all it is what some of them do best.

I hope at least this puts some of the record straight.

CLLR DAVID PATRICK

Town and district councillor

Via e-mail

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