Council urged to work together

By Liz HearnshawMEMBERS of a troubled town council plagued by allegations of misconduct have urged their colleagues to pull together or step down for the good of the electorate.

By Liz Hearnshaw

MEMBERS of a troubled town council plagued by allegations of misconduct have urged their colleagues to pull together or step down for the good of the electorate.

The call came after Mabon Dane, who serves on Haverhill Town Council, made fresh complaints to the Standards Board for England about fellow members.

Mr Dane, of the Haverhill Representative Alliance, said he had made 10 new allegations of misconduct, taking the total to 24 this year.


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They relate to meetings on the transfer of the town's arts centre to Haverhill Town Council control, a Tesco planning application and the selling off of football fields at Hamlet Croft.

“I have made 10 individual referrals to the standards board regarding three different areas where I believe borough councillors have been involved in a town council vote where they have a prejudicial interest,” said Mr Dane.

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“I have always said the decisions that have been made by the town council have not always been good and there is a lot of concern over that.”

But Labour town councillor, Ernie Goody, urged members to forget their politics and pull together as one.

“Some of these complaints have come from the minutes of meetings held in February 2002, which is not in the spirit of building bridges and working together,” he said.

“I do not really know what the answer is, but we are happy to work with anyone, providing it is for the benefit of Haverhill.

“I would like members to see reality, knuckle down and get on with the job in hand. If they are not prepared to do that, then they should leave the council.”

Gerry Kiernan, who serves on Haverhill Town, St Edmundsbury Borough and Suffolk County Councils, added: “If half the time which is being spent on making complaints went towards serving the people of Haverhill, then the council would not be in the state it is now.

“The council worked perfectly well for 14 years and no complaints were made against staff or members, but in the past year everything seems to have come to a stop.

“I think things are getting ridiculous. We are trying to see if we can find some way of everyone working together, but this may take some time as a lot of trust has to be built up.”

A spokesman for the Standards Board for England said eight allegations were currently being investigated, while a further 11 complaints this year had not been referred for investigation.

n A Haverhill town councillor has changed political allegiance to join the Conservatives.

Lesley Samples, who was elected in 2003 as a member of the Haverhill Representative Alliance, said she felt the Tory party offered the best way forward for the town.

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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