The chairman of Cliffsend Parish Council has resigned his role – just weeks after two other parish councillors and the parish clerk quit their roles.
In a letter published on the parish council website today (October 29) Cllr Peter Cable says he is stepping down after fellow councillors declined to endorse several surveys on village issues.
In his letter he states: “I am saddened to report that the expenditure of £32 a month for these surveys was declined by the council in last week’s meeting despite the further justification of gauging the wider communities view and concerns about the impending Parkway Station.
“I do not wish to be the Chairman when these important decisions are made when the Parish Council has no real evidence of engaging the wider community’s views.
“That said, this is democracy at its finest and I respect every councillors’ view. I wish the new chairman well in whatever direction they wish to take the council.”
Cllr Mick Galvin is now the temporary chairman. A chairperson/vice chair will have to be elected at the next council meeting overseen by the temporary clerk.
The move comes on the heels of resignations from councillors Suzanne Chapman and John Hellyer and clerk Anne Griffths.
Miss Chapman is understood to have been frustrated with ‘too much bureaucracy’ and the inability to get items put on parish council agendas for discussion.
Mr Hellyer said he resigned with ‘great reluctance’ but added: “I can no longer work with our chairperson, “ because “his rudeness, aggressive actions towards myself and members of the public are in my opinion not suitable for a Chair of a parish council.“
A standards complaint of bringing the parish council into disrepute was also lodged against Cllr Cable by a resident but was recommended for no further action by Thanet council because “the person complained of was not acting in an official capacity at the time of some of the alleged incidents and there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the complaints.”
The decision notice says issues raised around electoral fraud were outside of the committee’s remit and should be taken up with the police and Electoral Commission.
Cllr Cable also said the council “needs a more diverse group of councillors to truly represent the community, specifically young families.”
He added: “Most importantly our community organisations need to be open and fair to everyone not just a particular age group.”
It is understood Cllr Cable will step back from the council until he resigns as a councillor, which is expected to be at the end of the year.
The two existing vacancies will mean either new members must be elected via a by-election or co-opted on to the grass roots authority.
Following the resignations the parish council needs to notify the Returning Officer of the vacancies – in this case Thanet council chief executive Madeline Homer.
She then sends a notice to the parish which they have a duty to display for 14 days, informing residents of the vacancy.
An election will be called if ten residents, who are registered to vote in the area where the vacancy has arisen, write to the Returning Officer requesting it.
If an election isn’t called the vacancy may be filled by co-option.