A LEADING member of Lymington Town Council has quit after months of controversy over the future of the seawater baths.

Councillor Tony Swain, who was chairman of the seawater baths sub-committee, clashed with fellow Tories following moves to appoint an outside contractor to run the facility.

His decision to quit the council sparked allegations of bullying when the issue was raised by a former councillor at a meeting of the amenities committee.

Mike Thorp cited a decision taken by the authority last year when town mayor Councillor Jacqui England, an Independent, was replaced by Cllr Swain as chairman of the sub-committee.

Mr Thorp said: “The mayor was sacked as chairman and now we’ve had the loss of a superb councillor who was bullied by some of his colleagues.

A policy was devised behind his back while he was away on holiday. He’d had enough and I felt for him.”

The meeting was chaired by Councillor Michael White. He addressed remarks made by New Forest businessman Hugh Ambrose who has revealed his wish to run the baths.

Cllr White said: “He’s a little ahead of himself. Any submissions he has made will be reviewed in due course.”

Town clerk Steve Cridland confirmed that the authority had three “expressions of interest” in the site.

Cllr Swain launched an attack on a fellow Conservative, Cllr John Olliff-Cooper, after the decision to seek outside contractors to run the baths was taken last year. He claimed Cllr Olliff- Cooper’s “meddling” was threatening to ruin staff morale at the venue.

Cllr Olliff-Cooper made no comment during the meeting but later accused his critic of standing in the way of progress.

Cllr Swain declined to comment on his resignation. He will continue to represent Lymington on the district council.