ANOTHER councillor has resigned the Tory whip at Rochford District Council over the introduction of Saturday afternoon parking charges.

Dave Sperring, councillor for Trinity ward, in Rayleigh, will no longer be voting with the Conservative group on the council and he will now sit as an independent Conservative until the end of his term in 2016.

His announcement follows a similar decision by Tory colleague Toby Mountain last week.

Mr Sperring was one of nine Tory councillors who signed a motion calling for the issue of Saturday afternoon parking charges to be reconsidered.

The controversial measure was passed by a full council meeting in January after Tories were ordered to back it and support group leader Terry Cutmore.

The motion led to another vote last week, which was lost by the rebels.

As a result drivers will have to pay £1 an hour to park on Saturdays from next month.

Speaking about his decision, Mr Sperring said: “It was not as a result of the vote, but ultimately, over the way the whole thing has been handled.

“I thought the whole issue was messily handled from start to finish.

“I have made it clear I am still a Conservative and will still be out canvassing and working for my residents.”

Mr Sperring spoke out before the vote on the motion, arguing Saturday parking charges would only help Basildon businesses to poach customers from Rochford traders.

He added: “I do not want to be put in the position I was when the whip was put in place.

“It is fair to say there were several of us who were disappointed at the way it was handled.

“This is not a rushed or overnight decision. I had felt this way for a couple of weeks.”

Mr Sperring was elected on May 3, 2012.

His decision means the council is now made up of 29 Conservatives, four Lib Dem, two independent Conservatives, two Greens and two Rochford District Resident representatives.