The leader of Elmbridge Council, Councillor Roy Taylor, has congratulated a member of the public for pointing out to him a mistake in one of his own cabinet’s reports.

The Tory cabinet met on Wednesday, March 24, to discuss a proposed scheme to allow people who work in Elmbridge to use the borough’s car parks at a discount.

But one of the clauses in the original report for the discounted season tickets stated applicants not only had to work in Elmbridge, but also live in Elmbridge.

Although the scheme was an attempt by the council to placate traders, who claimed a hike in parking charges was having an adverse effect on their businesses, the addition of the clause angered them further.

One trader, Cathy Cott, who runs the Phoenix Designer Dress Agency in Cobham, read the report online before the meeting and emailed Coun Mike Bennison to complain about the clause.

Her email, which copied in other councillors, said: “Restricting discounted season tickets to vehicles registered in Elmbridge is outrageous and undemocratic.

“There are so many people who work in Cobham and probably in other towns in Elmbridge, who do not live in Elmbridge and do not have cars registered in Elmbridge.

“Consequently, under this proposal, they do not qualify for discounted season tickets. This proposal is totally outrageous. Which particular core councillors within the cabinet are responsible for this ludicrous proposal?”

The cabinet corrected the error and the scheme is now also open to people who live outside the borough.

Replying to the email, Coun Taylor said: “Thanks for including me in your widely circulated email, addressed principally to Coun Mike Bennison. I spoke with Mike this morning and we agreed that I would respond.

“Firstly I am afraid that the officers’ report that went to cabinet last night did contain a number of unfortunate errors; these resulted in an incorrect construction on some of the key aspects of the scheme - well spotted. These we corrected in the debate.”

Coun David Archer, cabinet member in charge of highways and transportation, took responsibility and blamed “work commitments” for the error.

Coun Chris Sadler, leader of the Residents’ Association, said it was “a rapid and humiliating u-turn by the Tory cabinet”.