THE leader of Dartford Council has branded Labour opposition "campaigning clowns" in a clash over crime prevention measures for a troubled part of town.

Temple Hill has been made a Dispersal Area for three months from January 31 giving police powers to deal with anti-social behaviour by breaking up any group of two or more people found causing or likely to cause trouble.

Dartford’s Labour minority argue the rarely used measure - imposed on Temple Hill for the second time but never anywhere else in the town - could have been avoided.

Labour Littlebrook ward councillor Tom Maddison claims past concerns over lighting in the area have been ignored by the Tory-led council.

He said: "As well as being tough on anti-social behaviour in Temple Hill, it’s also important to tackle its causes - and sadly, when we have raised residents’ concerns in the past, for example the need for better lighting, the Tory council leader didn’t want to know."

Council leader Jeremy Kite hit back, claiming lighting provision at council-owned parking garages aimed at preventing break-ins and anti-social behaviour was less a priority for Temple Hill residents than Labour councillors.

He said: "When these issues are brought to me by residents then I tend to act very quickly.

"When they are brought to me by campaigning clowns from the Labour Party I am less inclined to listen."