A decision on a Liberal Democrat motion to encourage NHS Hospital Trusts in the county to provide free on-site parking for NHS staff at their workplace was delayed by reference to further committees after Conservative members of the county council decided to significantly amend the text.
The amendment, proposed by Cllr Richard Cooper (also leader of Harrogate Borough Council) and seconded by Cllr Zoe Metcalfe (Conservative, Knaresborough) sought to confuse the basic issue by removing all references to free on-site parking and adding multiple conditions about travel options.
The motion’s proposer, Cllr Geoff Webber, criticised the Tory action saying:
“My motion was simple and straightforward, calling on the county council to support and encourage free on-site parking for NHS staff at their workplace. Tory member, Richard Cooper, put forward a spoiling amendment which removed all reference to free on-site parking and added multiple conditions about sustainable travel options.
“This is a typical Richard Cooper trick designed to spoil motions from any other party and a tactic he has used frequently on Harrogate Borough Council.
“I am disgusted at this sort of manipulation by the Tory majority on the council. If Cllr Cooper had felt strongly about this, he could have tabled his own motion, instead of which he has tried to hi-jack and neutralize a move to show county council support for NHS workers.
“The issue will now go to a scrutiny committee before coming back to council for a debate and vote although given the large Tory majority the outcome is a foregone conclusion.”