Westgate Town Council is hit by another resignation

David Morrish has resigned

Westgate Town Council has until tomorrow to request a by-election following the resignation of another councillor.

The authority, which posted the vacancy on its website last month, may also decide to co-opt.

The resignation of David Morrish follows that of Graham Rickett, who said he was ditching his post due to concerns over spiralling authority running costs.

Mr Morrish resigned last month saying he felt the town council was making ‘ultra vires’ decisions, ignoring standing orders.

In his letter Mr Morrish said he had made complaints about the council chairman and town clerk but received no response.

He also slammed the town council’s “amateurish management” and questioned the ability of all councillors to take a decisive role.

Concerns

Mr Morrish raised concerns over a decision  to increase annual office accommodation costs as a result of the move out of Westgate Town Hall into Ethelbert  Square and the decision to call an extraordinary council meeting (to co-opt a councillor to fill a casual vacancy ) and then to cancel the meeting without any public announcement.

He also criticised a “40%” rise in the town’s council precept, saying money was being wasted on recruiting two part-time street cleaners when Thanet council received precept for the same service.

He concludes: “In view of recent developments  taken together this year’s  changes to Westgate on Sea Town Council’s  governance I can no longer continue as an elected town councillor –because it  would imply my acceptance of  shared responsibility for the profligate ,and possibly unlawful ,actions of the current town council.

“It is, with some regret, that for all the above reasons I am resigning from the Town Council as from today 31st July 2017.”

He adds: “Also ,quite honestly I really do have more important things to do in my life.”

‘Town council is acting appropriately and lawfully’

Westgate Town Council hotly contests any implication of ‘unlawful’ actions

Council chairman Tom King said: “The council obtains professional advice on all its activities and thanks to the current town clerk, whom must remain impartial at all times, the requisite policies and procedures are now in place and the decisions of the council are carried out lawfully, under qualified professional guidance.

“The Kent Association of Local Councils is consulted regularly to ensure that the town council is acting appropriately and lawfully. Mr Morrish has repeatedly refused to accept the advice set out before the council since its inception in 2015 and this resignation immediately follows the commencement of a legal investigation into the activities of a committee that Mr Morrish was chairman of. the office move was to ensure disabled staff or visitors could access council services without a disadvantage.”

On the issue of the town council office move he said: “The landlord of the Town Hall buildings, Joanna Cornford, was unable to adapt the building to allow those with mobility problems to reach the office and meeting room on the first floor therefore the town council was obliged to move to premises that is accessible to all.  The decision to move to more accessible premises was taken lawfully and voted by all members of the committee except Mr Morrish.”

Cllr King also disputed wasting money on street cleaners, saying: “The town council voted to enter into an agreement with TDC to provide a ‘top up’ cleansing service for the town.  Residents have complained for many years that the standard of street cleansing is below expectations and the work of the new town council operations team has been positively received.

“Both authorities work co-operatively to approach issues swiftly and efficiently.  The cost of the operational team equates to roughly 25% of the council’s expenditure budget.”

Westgate Town Council

In February 2015 Thanet District Council approved an order setting up a parish council in Westgate-on-Sea. In May 2015 10 councillors were elected and the status of ‘town council’ was formally approved.

The council currently has eight councillors and two vacancies.

If an election is called for the vacancy, it will take place on 24 October.

6 Comments

  1. This town council is one bad joke ALL of the town councils should resign and let the residents of Westgate VOTE All the councillor in. As a former Thanet District Councillor for 8 year Before losing his seat, Chairman of Westgate’s Town Council Tom King should of already known that the town hall building was not suitable for disabled access before the WTC was formed. Thank you David Morrish and Graham Rickett for the hard work you will be missed.

    • Wasn’t a bad joke when the council gave the community center a grant of well over one thousand pounds was it Lorraine.

    • Well said, Lorraine.

      There are currently two vacancies, two elected Councillors and six who simply put their names forward at the creation of a Town Council (so, unelected). Arguably these six should all resign and their positions put up for election – some of them might actually get elected, but one or two might not.

  2. Um. The comment ‘this resignation immediately follows the commencement of a legal investigation into the activities of a committee that Mr Morrish was chairman of’ seems to say the Morrish is currently subject to a legal investigation. Is that the same as a criminal investigation?

    • You could be right, the wording infers it but doesn’t specifically state it. Why would they want to do that? Doesn’t the inference imply ‘Defamation of Character’ by the Chairman of Westgate-on-Sea Town Council? Isn’t that an offence under the Defamation Act 2013?

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