KEVIN Small has caused a stir at the Civic Offices by declining to vacate the council leader's official room.

But the outgoing council leader (Lab, Western) says it is all a storm in a tea cup.

Tory group leader Mike Bawden (Old Town and Lawns) had approached Coun Small about moving into the office ahead of Friday's administration change, but he has stuck to his guns.

Now, in something of a civic reshuffle, the council's press and PR team will vacate their ground floor office to make way for the Conservative group. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will remain unaffected by the changes. Tory group leader Mike Bawden (Old Town and Lawn) said: "It looks like all three groups will be situated on the ground floor on the Civic Offices from now."

But newly elected Lib Dem councillor Mike Dickinson (Central) said: "The arrogance of Labour in Swindon is shocking. They lost political control of the council last week, but will not give up their luxury offices, which go with the job."

Coun Small said: "Technically the office, which is used by the leader of the council, is in fact designated as the Labour group leader's office. The Conservatives have a suite of offices upstairs and I can fully understand them wanting to move downstairs and they will from Friday when they take control of the council."

At the recent borough elections the Labour group lost six seats, leaving them with 22, the Conservatives gained six seats, leaving them with 29 and the Liberal Democrats remain unchanged with eight seats.

Lib Dem leader Mike Evemy (Eastcott) added: "The Conservatives wanted a bigger room in which to hold meetings. I don't think this is particularly significant because with an administration change one expects a certain amount of change."