Group divided over candidate’s backing

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A SPAT has broken out between members of a community group over leaflets put out by the Liberal Democrats ahead of next month’s Sheffield Council elections.

Leaflets for Coun Colin Ross, who is defending his Dore and Totley seat against a Tory challenge, contain an endorsement by members of Dore Conservation Group, which was formed to fight development plans, including flats at 135 Dore Road.

However, other members of the group, whose founders include Conservative candidate Anne Smith, have issued a statement saying it was formed on a ‘non-political basis’ and criticising the endorsement of Coun Ross.

The statement said: “The group acknowledges the work done by all concerned in fighting the application to develop 135 Dore Road, but wishes it to be known it was not an initiative of the Lib Dems.

“They only became involved after the founding group had shown it was a major local issue and after the council’s planning department had expressed its own concerns about the suitability of the development.”

But Paul Millington and Aubrey Read, founders of the conservation group who made the endorsement of Coun Ross in his campaign material, said: “This was a team effort and together with the Dore Village Society and 2,000 objections from Dore residents we achieved the right result for Dore and our former colleagues are missing the bigger picture.

“We are principled people and as such it is only right that Coun Ross is given due credit for his invaluable input.

“We will continue to work constructively with all parties to prevent inappropriate development in our village and also to ensure that our planning authority acts both transparently and competently.”