Calls for resignations and ‘fresh blood’ at ‘dysfunctional’ Suffolk council

Hadleigh Guildhall, home of Hadleigh Town Hall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Hadleigh Guildhall, home of Hadleigh Town Hall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk town’s former deputy mayor has proposed a vote of no confidence in the council he resigned from and which serving members have branded “broken and dysfunctional”.

Former Hadleigh councillor Bill Wilson proposed the referendum. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Former Hadleigh councillor Bill Wilson proposed the referendum. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Hadleigh’s annual meeting on Tuesday saw Bill Wilson propose a referendum asking all town councillors to resign due to a lack of public confidence.

Mr Wilson claimed the motion was passed by public vote, giving Hadleigh Town Council (HTC) 24 hours to inform Babergh District Council (BDC). BDC said it would decide whether the request was valid and if so, a poll would be held in 14-25 working days.

The move follows a turbulent period for the council, which needed to bring in mediators after allegations of “bullying”.

Mr Wilson, who resigned from the council in January, said he proposed the motion because of concerns with the way it was run.


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“There’s been so much disarray, the council has become dysfunctional,” he added.

He said HTC was “stagnating” and needed “fresh blood”.

Tensions have been building since Hadleigh’s neighbourhood plan working group was disbanded in July, against some councillors’ wishes.Councillor Anita Young, who backed Mr Wilson’s motion, said councillors who joined at the last election often disagreed with longer serving members. She said while newer arrivals wanted to he “progressive” older members had a “particular way of working”.

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While Mrs Young said recent mediation for councillors had proved “useful”, it also revealed issues she feared could not be resolved. “Hadleigh Town Council is dysfunctional,” she said. “We are a broken council.”

Councillor Rickaby Sanders said he supported the motion, hoping it will make some consider “whether it’s time to move on”. “We need to engage with the public and I don’t think some of the longer serving councillors want to do that,” he added.

Hadleigh resident Steve Allman, who backed the motion, said it seemed the council viewed the public as an “inconvenience”.“We feel there could be a better offer – one that’s more engaged, and has less negativity,” he added.

Sean Garnham, Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce chairman, supported the motion. He said he respected the councillors but some were “institutionalised” and it was “time to pass the baton”.

HTC said it had “due process” to follow and could not comment.

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