EXCLUSIVE: Tory insider speaks out against ‘Conservative clique culture’ at North Herts District Council – and calls for leader Lynda Needham’s resignation

PUBLISHED: 16:55 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 16 February 2017

Councillor Lynda Needham

Councillor Lynda Needham


An anonymous Conservative councillor has shared concerns over failures and overspends and called for the current North Herts District Council leader to step down.

The insider also criticised a prominent councillor for his apparent ‘arrogance’ in believing he will be re-elected as a councillor – and has spoken of the party having a ‘culture of cliques’. Both claims have been staunchly denied.

North Herts District Council leader Lynda Needham has been criticised by the Crow’s source inside the party for being unaccountable, offering ineffective leadership and presiding over numerous project failures costing the taxpayer extra millions – and the anonymous councilor has called for her resignation.

They told the Crow: “The buck stops with Lynda Needham.

“She has been in charge of so many expensive fiascos and overspends including the ongoing saga of Hitchin museum as well as the town hall shambles and Churchgate.

“There is also a culture of cliques. If you’re not in the inner circle you are not told anything.

“I just want to help people I represent, but I am not being given the chance because of vital information which is being witheld from me and others. She is simply not a team player – it’s time for her to go.”

The anonymous source also said that Councillor David Barnard had dismissed the electorate by being confident of re-election for Hitchin Rural in the forthcoming Herts County Council elections, saying: “Behind closed doors David Barnard has been so cocky about the fact he believes it is a formality that he will be re-elected. He is literally laughing at the electorate.”

In response, Mr Barnard said: “Bearing in mind what’s happening all over the world, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a safe seat and I’ve said that publicly many times.

“I’m certainly not cocky and am not laughing at the electorate – I will be doing everything I can to keep my seat. I do it because I love it and I believe I can make a difference. I’ve been a councillor for 26 years and I want that to continue.”

Mrs Needham last month voted through a 19 per cent pay rise for herself, with fellow Tory councillors agreeing to an independent panel’s recommended hikes of more than 10 per cent – which their Labour and Lib Dem counterparts voted against. She has since indicated she may return it, but there has been no confirmation yet.

Mr Barnard shocked onlookers at the district council’s budget meeting last week when he shouted: “I will not return my pay rise!”

The district council has yet to respond to a request for comment.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:59

The achievements of a Royston woman with Down’s syndrome are the subject of a short film that has been picked up by festivals around the world – and it was made by the 33-year-old’s own mum.

Yesterday, 15:00

A Year 4 class from Icknield Walk First School in Royston have visited the town’s Greneway Middle School to experience science in a big lab as part of their topic ‘animals as humans’.

Yesterday, 09:04

A man has been arrested in connection with an alleged knife attack in Meldreth.

Yesterday, 07:01

The vascular surgery team at the East and North Herts NHS Trust has received national recognition for being the second fastest in the country for unblocking carotid arteries – a procedure which must be done quickly to reduce the risk of further strokes in patients.


Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter