A district councillor for Cliffsend and Pegwell has resigned over claims of bullying.
David Stevens was elected in May’s poll as the Conservative member for the ward. The other seat for the ward is held by fellow Conservative Cllr Brenda Rogers.
Mr Stevens handed in his resignation to Thanet council today (December 20). Thanet council says it is not aware of any complaints relating to bullying.
In a statement the retired teacher from Pegwell said: “It is with great sadness and regret that I have today stepped down as a councillor of TDC due to mounting stress.
“I would like to apologise to the residents of Cliffsend and Pegwell because I feel I have let them and Cllr Rogers down. I would like to thank my fellow councillors and officers at TDC for all the help and support they have given to me because the vast majority of them are hard working, honest people trying to do a very difficult job.
“However, there is a minority of “rotten apples” at the heart of TDC that need to be removed and it is a huge disappointment to me that I have not been able to complete the task.
“There is no place for bullying and intimidation in any organisation and I hope that my fellow elected members will continue the work to remove the perpetrators.”
The resignation is the latest blow for Cliffsend which has also seen two parish councillors and the clerk hand in their resignations as well as the chairman, who resigned his role in October.
A by-election is now expected to be called for the vacant seat.
A Thanet council Spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Cllr David Stevens has resigned but we are not aware of any complaints or concerns that suggests that this was related to bullying. A by election is likely to be held in February. We will confirm the details in the New Year.”
The isle’s Conservative Party leader Lesley Game said she had “no knowledge of any bullying,” but added: “I regret his departure and wish him well for the future.”
A statement from the Thanet Green Party adds: “We were very sorry to hear of Cllr David Stevens’ resignation as a Thanet District Councillor, and to read that he has felt forced into this decision as a result of stress.
“We are of different political persuasions and obviously do not agree on some issues, but we have always respected David as a man of integrity. As a Councillor he has been hardworking, conscientious and determined to do a good job for the people of Cliffsend and of Thanet.
“Our three Green Councillors were elected in May at the same time as David, and since then have found him very willing to work cross-party for the good of the area. So it is disappointing that he will not be continuing with the excellent work he was doing, particularly on the council’s constitution, which we believe is in urgent need of review.
“In particular, we were disturbed to see the words ‘bullying and intimidation’ in David’s resignation statement. We wholly support his view that there is no place for these in any organisation. We commit to continuing to work across the Chamber to ensure that anyone responsible for such actions is held to account, and to move forward in the long process of bringing Thanet District Council into line with local authority best practice.”