A COUNCILLOR has announced plans to form a new party after splitting from the Castle Point Tories, dismissing the group as “an old man’s club”.

Steven Cole, councillor for St George’s ward at Castle Point Council, told the Echo he plans to form a new party and blitz the blue vote at the next elections.

This comes after Mr Cole split from the Tory party to become an Independent councillor.

The councillor, who confirmed that there was no name for the new party yet, said: “I hope to fill every seat in the mainland.

“I’ve been speaking with residents and they will be standing with me.

“The Tory party needs to be challenged.

“They restrict you when raising issues.”

On leaving the Tories, he added: “I’d just had enough.

“I had to step back and the fact that they are ignoring key issues is just wrong.

“It’s an old man’s club.”

Mr Cole also spoke of his “disenchantment” with the Conservative Party over environmental issues, adding: “There are serious environmental problems that need to be sorted.

“We’ve got three schools which all open onto Rushbottom Lane.

“There’s 300 odd vehicles on that road at 9am and at 3pm.

“The air pollution there is shocking.

“Our children are getting gassed.

“We only have one air monitoring device on the island.

“If we had more, then the CO2 levels would be way over the EU limit.

“Castle Point aren’t taking the green belt seriously.

“The traffic on Canvey is a major issue too.

“I understand that we need houses but we then need more schools and more doctors.

“We need council housing if nothing else.”

Norman Smith, leader of Castle Point council, told of his disappointment at Mr Cole’s decision.

He said: “At the end of the day it’s his choice.”

“Steven’s a great councillor.

“I look forward to continue working with him.

“He’s always been a bit of a maverick.

“Sometimes it’s easier to work as a larger group rather than have lots of smaller parties.”

Dave Blackwell, councillor for Canvey central, added: “ I’d heard that he’d fallen out with the Tories some time ago.

“It’s been kept quiet for a while.

“I was gobsmacked.”