A LEADING member of the cabinet is to stand in a different ward at May’s local election after a falling out with the Mayor.

Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw) will stand for election in Haydon Wick after what he describes as a ‘breakdown in communication’ with fellow ward councillor Nick Martin.

He says that after attempting to mediate between local residents and Coun Martin over plans to build a skate park in the area the relationship between the pair became unworkable.

The cabinet member for regeneration also said he felt the Mayor should have stepped aside while an investigation was carried out into alleged comments he made about people with learning difficulties.

He said: “The disagreement came about over the proposed skate park in West Swindon and anyone who has been to recent locality meetings will know a bit about it.

“It was Coun Martin’s idea and he was very determined to see it through with some residents feeling they were not being listened to. I feel whatever happens it is the role of a councillor to represent people so I intervened to mediate.

“Coun Martin took exception to this and used words I won’t repeat effectively saying I was a traitor. From there, communication broke down completely.”

Coun Perkins, who is the longest serving member of the cabinet, also voted against the Mayor in a vote of no confidence which was held in December.

He said: “I feel in those circumstances it is important for the person in the seat to step aside while an investigation is being carried out as it begins to have a negative effect on the position.

“It is no comment on whether he is guilty or not but it is something which would happen in most other walks of life.”

After 11 years representing Shaw, Coun Perkins says should he win the election he is looking forward to a fresh challenge. He will be standing for the seat being vacated by Coun Claire Ellis, who will be standing in Old Town.

“If I win I look forward to working in the same ward as the council leader and serving the people of Haydon Wick with the same energy and enthusiasm that I have always done since I was first elected a councillor in Swindon in the 1990s,” said Coun Perkins.

The mayor, whose wife Mary will be standing for the vacated Shaw seat, declined to comment on either the disagreement or the alleged comments.

He said: “I am delighted that a councillor of 12 years’ experience at Toothill and Freshbook has been selected to stand and I congratulate Coun Perkins on being selected for Haydon Wick.”