An opposition leader is “disgusted” after his party was outnumbered on all of Maldon District Council’s committees.

Independent councillor Mark Heard, for Maldon West, has hit out at Adrian Fluker and the rest of the Maldon Conservatives after he “took the decision to exclude the Independent group from all outside working parties”.

Mr Heard said after the council’s statutory annual meeting, the administration had established a majority in every committee throughout the council.

He said: “I was disgusted with this power crazy decision which was not in the interests, nor in the spirit of democracy.

“Involvement with these outside groups should and could have been shared, particularly as the Independent group has two present mayors and three past mayors and lots of other council experience.”

Mr Fluker said the council’s selection for committee members fell within the political balance laid down by statute.

He said: “The balance is based on the fact the Conservatives have a majority of members on the council.

“The leader of the opposition group knows this and to think or say otherwise is politically naive.

“The council and its committees appoint members to working groups and outside bodies based on their suitability and experience.”

Mr Heard said the issues surrounding the selection for committees had become a “farce” last Tuesday at the community services committee.

During the meeting 28 places for district representation were elected on various committees.

While some seats were previously held by Independents, Mr Heard said the Tories had replaced a Maldon south ward member with an out-of-town Conservative.

Mr Heard added: “People voted for change, but got exactly the same even though the Independents polled more votes.

“We will be watching and learning fast, making challenges when necessary and supporting good decisions.”

Mr Fluker replied: “The residents of Maldon District elected a Conservative administration.

“It has a proven track record stretching back many years for delivering value for money.

“I can assure residents the Conservative administration will continue to work hard for everyone to make sure that Maldon District is a great place to live, work and enjoy.”