A CONSERVATIVE councillor has launched an outspoken attack on a colleague over the future of Lymington’s famous seawater baths.

Tony Swain claims that fellow Tory John Oliff-Cooper’s “constant interference and meddling” is threatening to ruin staff morale at the venue, which costs taxpayers £60,000 a year.

It follows Cllr Oliff-Cooper’s decision to join Lymington Town Council’s seawater baths sub-committee, which is chaired by Cllr Swain.

Last night Cllr Oliff-Cooper accused his fellow councillor of standing in the way of progress.

Speaking at a meeting of the Tory-run authority, Cllr Swain said: “I’m surprised that Cllr Oliff-Cooper would even want to be a member of the sub-committee.

“He’s not the slightest bit interested in the day-to-day running of the baths.

“Our new manager had been in post for some four months before he even spoke to him.

“The councillor’s interests lie in the promotion of his grand designs and hidden agendas.

The seawater baths team have had an exceptionally successful season and this councillor’s constant interference and meddling is having a destabilising effect on the staff and will, if continued, result in a serious loss of morale.”

Cllr Oliff-Cooper decided to remain silent rather than launch a counter-attack.

After the meeting he said: “Everyone in the room was dumbfounded by his extraordinary intemperance and ungentlemanly conduct. It’s not the sort of thing you do in a council chamber – it’s just so rude.

“He became really vitriolic and took a personal swipe at me, which isn’t the way to behave.”

Cllr Oliff-Cooper, who is chairman of the amenities committee, also accused Cllr Swain of trying to impede progress.

He said: “He seems to think that nothing should happen to the seawater baths but they’re costing taxpayers £60,000 a year.”