QUESTIONS have been raised regarding the leadership style of the head of Cotswold District Council (CDC), and he has been urged to lay out “his vision and plans” for the district.

Conservative councillor Mark Annett took the reins at CDC in May, but after more than six months in the role an opposition council member has said he fears the leader’s philosophy is “to do as little as possible”.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Thursday, Cllr Joe Harris, leader of the Cotswold Lib Dems, said: “We have all had the chance to see your style of leadership, with many of us still trying to work out whether it is thoughtful or passive.

“I fear that your approach could be wait, wait, wait, see what happens and then do as little as possible.”

In response, Cllr Annett, who was chosen as leader of the Cotswold Conservatives and in turn CDC in March, replacing Lynden Stow, said: "I'm not quite sure whether you're saying to me I'm not qualified to do this job or I'm not trained to do it.

“I wonder what the qualifications are to do it.”

He went on to say: “I always remember when I was growing up and I lived in a place where there was a borough council, the chairman of borough council, who was a different generation to me, fought in Dunkirk, was a beach master at one of the British beaches at Normandy, and he fought in Ireland as well.

“He was asked at a borough meeting what his qualifications were to be the chairman, as it was in those days, and he looked at everybody, as I look at you, and said: 'I have the qualifications we required'.

“I got voted into this job, rightly or wrongly, whether I'm passive or not passive, I suppose we will just have to wait and see,” he added.

In response, Cllr Harris said: “I don't think anybody is questioning your ability to do the job or your qualifications; I think we'd all like to know a bit more about your plans and aspirations are for the Cotswolds, because so far you haven't told us.

Cllr Harris proceeded to criticise Cllr Annett for declining an invitation to attend a public meeting held in September regarding the controversial application to build 2,350 homes in Chesterton.

“Leadership often requires doing things one might not be comfortable with,” said the Lib Dem councillor.

“When you became the leader you took on the responsibility for the Conservative record at this council to date.

“The decision you took over this meeting would signal an abdication of responsibility and an unwillingness to defend that record.

“And indeed, if you wanted to distance yourself from this record, you would have outlined your plans and priorities for the Cotswolds, but we haven't seen this.”

Cllr Harris then called on Cllr Annett to commit in advance “to the 2019 council elections to attend every public debate that there might be or hustings or at least send a representative from the Conservative party to defend the administration's record”.

The Tory leader said he had been advised not to attend the public meeting at The Corn Hall and sent a letter to the organisers, which was then published in the Standard.

“I really don't know what we are talking about here. I just think you are trying to make political points and I am frankly not interested in speaking,” he added.