CAITHNESS councillor Donnie Mackay has resigned as a member of the ruling administration and is joining the Conservative group.
He said the reason behind his decision is the proposed roll-out of car park charges and planned toilet closures.
“We are asking tourists to come to Caithness but we are not encouraging them if we are closing toilets and charging for car parks,” Mr Mackay said on Thursday.
“I have had enough and decided to resign from the independent group at the end of the week.”
He wants to join the Conservative group as he has been “a Conservative all my life”.
“I will still serve the same way as I served as an independent councillor. There will be absolutely no change in that regard as far as I am concerned,” said Mr Mackay, one of three Thurso and Northwest Caithness Highland councillors.
Mr Mackay, who is 74, has been a councillor for 16 years and is vice-chairman of the north planning committee.
Conservative group leader Andrew Jarvie said he was delighted by Mr Mackay’s decision to seek membership of his group. Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “I’m sorry to see Donnie leave the independent group and have told him so. I have wished him well.”
The decision will not alter the balance of power at Glenurquhart Road but will strengthen Tory group representation on committees and at the local government organisation Cosla.
If Mr Mackay is accepted by the Tories, the council balance will be 27 independent, 19 SNP, 11 Conservative, 10 Liberal Democrat, three Labour, two non-aligned, one Sutherland Independent Group and one Green.