An “older people’s champion” will be installed in Richmond if the Conservatives gain control of the council.

Councillor Nick True, leader of Richmond Tories, said a senior cabinet member will be selected for the role, which will involve ensuring council policies reflect the concerns of older people and draw on their skills.

He said: “We will put the interests of older people at the heart of all we do.

“We will, of course, fight to protect the Freedom Pass, but within our borough we will also introduce a pensioner preference programme in council services.”

As part of the initiative, priority will be given to repairing broken paving outside the homes of older people, and some parking places closest to the exits of car parks and pay and display machines will be reserved for pensioners.

A Help Us, Help Others programme will also be developed, in partnership with voluntary bodies, to unlock the skills and experience of retired people, so they are able to help with volunteering within the community.

Coun True said: “I appeal to older people in the borough to let us know of inconveniences that arise in the way council services are delivered, and of initiatives which might make their lives easier.”

Councillor David Trigg, Richmond Council cabinet member for traffic, transport and parking, described the pledges as “patronising” and said the authority engaged with all residents, particularly elderly ones.

He said: “To differentiate car parking on the basis of age is a very odd comment on the numerous very fit people we have in this borough of pensionable age.

“With respect to paving, we take this very seriously and look to repair or replace paving slabs as a matter of priority.”

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