WITH reference to the ‘ditched planning records’ the circumstances behind this are common knowledge at the council and why I took the decision as the manager.

Since the council was threatened by the landlord of New Town with a rental increase based upon the amount of space occupied by the thousands of files dating back to 1946, I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone.

In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to.

As soon as the issue came to a head I wrote to the council and explained the action taken and a more detailed letter of mine was attached to the committee report and there is absolutely nothing more to add.

The reason why this has emerged again is simple. The Liberal Democrats are making political capital of the issue, in particular they wish to denigrate the leader of the council who was chairman of the development control committee for many years, serving it selflessly throughout.

The Lib Dems have worked for years in a non-political capacity on the council. As a lifelong Warrington resident I feel the future of the town is far safer with Labour than their opponents who are more interested in this type of squabbling than delivering achievements on the ground.

While I obviously regret what has happened since the destruction of the files I firmly believe that my track record in being prominent in delivering the Rixton Clay Pits Nature Reserve, Marks & Spencer Westbrook, Golden Square, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Victoria Square Stockton Heath and the future of Alford Hall bequeaths an improved quality of life for thousands of Warrington residents.

The tone of the Lib Dems attack is extremely hurtful and upsetting to my family but does not surprise me.

JOHN EARLE Grappenhall