A ROW has broken out over a series of letters sent to residents in Cotswold Water Park by two of the area’s most high-profile residents.
Last month Cotswold District Council member and anti-corruption campaigner Cllr Esmond Jenkins (Lib Dem, Water Park) sent a letter to residents throwing his support behind Mike Evemy, Liberal Democrat candidate for South Cerney ahead of last Thursday's Gloucestershire County Council elections.
In the letter Cllr Jenkins made a number of claims of wrongdoing around the involvement of Gloucestershire County Council in the transfer of Cotswold Country Park and Beach – formally known as Keynes Country Park – to property developers Watermark.
"The approval of the Keynes Park sub-lease and the efforts to cover up mark extraordinary failings in local authority governance which cannot be ignored," he said.
Earlier this year a lengthy investigation by City of London Police into alleged wrongdoing at the Water Park was shelved without any prosecutions being made.
The story took a surprising turn when Watermark chief executive Max Thomas – who has been notoriously tight-lipped about the issue – sent residents a response letter just days before the election, in which he dismissed Cllr Jenkins’ comments as "without fact and totally misleading".
"Cllr Esmond Jenkins appears to have wasted huge sums of public money and thousands of man hours on an apparent ‘witch-hunt’ against the Cotswold District Council, the Gloucestershire County Council and ourselves,"Mr Thomas said.
"It appears that the sole objective is to gain support for the local Liberal Democrat party.
"The cost of his tirade is unfortunately and ultimately paid for by you and me, as tax payers."
In an email sent to Cllr Jenkins called Mr Thomas’ letter "an extraordinary intervention by an unelected private developer".
"Please be assured I will not be distracted by Mr Thomas’s intervention and will continue to do the right thing by our community," said Cllr Jenkins.
Cllr Parsons retained his seat for the Conservatives in the division, receiving 39 per cent of the vote to Mike Evemy’s 28 per cent.