COTSWOLD District Council leader Joe Harris, has announced his new cabinet for the coming year saying it will "clarify roles as we come out of lockdown".

But Councillor Richard Morgan, leader of the Conservative opposition group, said the "real story" was the loss of a cabinet position on parking that he said represented "a switch" in policy.

Cllr Harris, the Liberal Democrat leader of the authority, has reduced the size of the cabinet from nine to eight as Councillor Mark Harris vacates the cabinet.

The cabinet now features Councillor Mike Evemy as deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Councillor Clive Webster as cabinet member for planning, town and parish councils and councillor Jenny Forde, cabinet member for health and wellbeing.

Cllr Harris said: “I’ve been very lucky to have a dynamic and supportive cabinet over the last year and the change of portfolios is intended to clarify roles as we come out of lockdown and into the recovery phase of the coronavirus crisis.

"We are striving to build a council which delivers for all of our residents and I want to make sure that we have a recovery for all. This is a strong cabinet that will deliver for the district.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to Cllr Harris, for his work in making our relationship with town and parish councils central to our thinking and for his work on parking across the district.”

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But Cllr Morgan said the announcement the cabinet member for parking had been relieved of his duties meant they were now seeking urgent clarification about the Liberal Democrat's position on parking. Cllr Morgan said: "Whilst we welcome the fact that Cllr Harris is reducing his large cabinet by one person which will save Cotswold tax payers money, the real story here is that this cabinet change represents a noteworthy switch in parking policy for Cotswold District Council and local residents.

"Just a few weeks ago the Lib Dems were celebrating a budget in which they increased parking fees for Cotswold residents by more than 30 per cent and announced they would use these additional funds to implement their radical Liberal manifesto.

"Just a few weeks ago the Lib Dems confirmed they were pressing ahead with the huge and expensive six story carpark in Cirencester.

"However, it’s now been announced that the cabinet member for parking has been relieved of his duties, the multi-story carpark has been put on hold and at the most recent full council meeting Cllr Joe Harris stated that the Lib Dems now intended to declare war on cars and motorists. A totally contra position to a few weeks ago when they drew up their financial budget for this financial year (2020-21).

"We continue to seek urgent clarification about the Lib Dem position on parking across the district. All Cotswold residents are entitled to know if parking remains a priority for this administration, and if that has now changed, then how they intend to replace the future additional parking revenues which their financial forecasts rely on.”