HART Conservative councillors staged a putsch when the Fleet and Crookham Planning Advisory Group met - they voted out Independent chairman Coun. Denis Gotel, who had only been in the job for four months.

Coun. Gotel, who had criticised councillors for poor attendance in his annual report, said he realised what was happening when seven Conservatives arrived at the May meeting. Coun. Sean Holden proposed Coun. Deborah Moss as chairman even though she was not there, and she got the Conservative vote.

Said Coun. Gotel: "Having done what he was there to do Coun. Holden, as proud as Punch, left the meeting as quickly as he had arrived."

Coun. Gotel said he did not know whether he had been ousted because of his report or because the Conservatives had make a mistake in making him chairman in January. Since then the number of councillors attending has fluctuated between two and four.

Coun. Holden told the Star: "It's not a personal attack but the group felt we wanted somebody better able to do the job and not use it for political grandstanding. It was an annual meeting when people do put themselves forward.Denis Gotel had set about the job with pompous gusto and was using it as a platform for his own political purposes." Coun. Holden added that when he arrived he told the meeting he could only stay for a short time as he was about to go off on a week's TA training.