A CONSERVATIVE-run council which saw the number of opposition members swell by 300 per cent after the May elections has denied setting out to humiliate a Tory turned Independent councillor.

Councillor Andrew Robinson, who overcame competition from the sitting Conservative candidate to win the Bagby and Thorntons ward by 60 votes in the elections, questioned why he had not been told his notice of motion to full council calling for the creation of a crematorium in the district was pointless.

The Independent member lost his seat on the council four years ago after not being selected by the Conservatives to represent the party as the number of seats on the council reduced from 44 to 28.

Marking his return to the council, Cllr Robinson had tabled the formal call, seconded by Northallerton member Councillor Paul Atkin, for the council to consider providing a crematorium as the nearest facilities were in Darlington, Teesside and York.

But at the start of a meeting of the full council, the authority’s leader Councillor Mark Robson announced the authority had already been looking at the issue for about a year and was preparing a report looking at the need, business case and possible sites which would be considered in September.

Cllr Robson said: “This Conservative-controlled council, previously and now, is ahead of the game to provide better services to the residents we serve at minimal cost.

“Since July 2018 there have been investigations going on behind the scenes at this council to provide a crematorium within Hambleton for the benefit of our residents. This has included work from a specialist consultancy. The work has been carried out in confidence because we were advised the project was commercially sensitive. However, investigations have now been completed and we are now ready to seek cabinet and council approval for the project.”

Cllr Robinson told the meeting he was withdrawing his motion following Cllr Robson’s statement.

He said: “The decision has already been made. I found it quite embarrassing actually that this should have happened.

“At the time I asked for my motion to come before the council either the chief executive or the leader could have spoken to me in confidence and I would not have had to put this motion to the council.

“Saying that I’m glad to hear what the leader said and I won’t take any credit for it. But if your intention was to embarrass me you have not achieved to do that.”

Cllr Robson replied: “There was no intention to embarrass anybody. As I said in my statement things have to remain confidential. Members of my group weren’t aware of it until we met recently.”