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'Tories tried to smear me' - Gotel

ROADS campaigner Denis Gotel has accused a Fleet Tory clique of trying to blacken his name over the Elvetham Road "obstacle course" controversy.

ROADS campaigner Denis Gotel has accused a Fleet Tory clique of trying to blacken his name over the Elvetham Road "obstacle course" controversy.

He denied their allegations that he had changed his tune over motorists' calls for the road's traffic calming chicanes to be removed.

Instead he accused some Hart Conservative councillors of indulging in dirty tricks as they sought to discredit him.

Coun Gotel, an Independent member of the council, spoke out after coming under attack from one of the group, Sean Holden.

In a statement Coun Holden accused him of reneging on his promise, made at last May's council elections, to fight for the removal of the Elvetham build-outs.

He said Coun Gotel had failed to support the council's controlling Conservative group when it voted to scrap the chicanes.

"Our motion was passed with a huge cross party majority," said Coun Holden, who represents Fleet West.

In his opinion voters who thought that a politician with only one policy couldn't possibly "rat on it", had been let down on every count.

Coun Gotel said later that the reason he had abstained was that an experts' report into the chicanes problem was due to be published later this month.

The report had been commissioned by the Hart Highways Advisory Panel - and the panel's members included Coun Holden and four other Tory councillors.

"It seemed to me these councillors wanted to pre-empt the very report they had commissioned, and a very expensive report at that," he said.

Coun Gotel added: "I'm not interested in this dirty tricks game, I'm more interested in finding a solution to the problem."

And just to put the record straight, he said, his election campaign had been about the proposed Fleet Town Centre traffic plan, and not Elvetham Road.


CONTROVERSIAL plans to end free parking in Fleet town centre went on show to the public today (Thursday).

The Hampshire County Council blueprint, designed to force motorists to use public car parks, will be on display at The Harlington Centre until Saturday.

Hart Council cabinet member Sharyn Wheale will be in attendance to answer questions between 10am and 2pm today and tomorrow, and between 10am and 3.30pm on Saturday.

Roads campaigner Denis Gotel, an Independent councillor, has already slammed the scheme which he fears will create a "traffic shambles" in Fleet Road.


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