Two councillors for Aldeburgh and Leiston resign from East Suffolk Council
- Credit: East Suffolk Council/Sarah Lucy Brown
Two councillors representing Aldeburgh and Leiston have resigned from their elected positions at East Suffolk Council - with one citing the authority's energy policy stance.
Conservative councillors Jocelyn Bond and T-J Haworth-Culf formally gave notice to East Suffolk Council on May 7 for their resignations, which will trigger a by-election for those seats in the near future.
Both had been elected to the new East Suffolk Council in May 2019, with Councillor Haworth-Culf having also served at the predecessor Suffolk Coastal District Council.
Councillor Haworth-Culf, said: "I got elected to the county council so I am concentrating on that."
She has taken over the county council seat for Aldeburgh and Leiston from Russ Rainger, who opted not to stand for re-election in the 2021 polls.
Councillor Bond meanwhile said the authority's approach to large scale energy infrastructure projects like Sizewell C made it harder for the concerns of her communities to be listened to.
In her resignation letter she said: "I believe the manner in which East Suffolk District Council is pursuing the energy aspirations is potentially extremely detrimental to, rather than being supportive of, the area I have had the honour to represent.
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"This makes it extremely difficult to adequately reflect the informed views of residents in the ward and continue to attempt to draw attention to this ward becoming a casualty in the drive to support the wider economic area of East Suffolk."
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, she continued: "There is an awful lot of concern yet to be addressed and there is definitely a perception in this area that those concerns are being deemed not to be of much note."
She said that she felt her and Councillor Haworth-Culf were "left being largely the lone voices" within the authority and "were on occasion actively shut down".
It is understood she still plans to be involved in representing voices in the communities in other ways, and stressed it was not a political decision to stand down.
East Suffolk has taken a 'neutral' stance on both Sizewell C and the East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two windfarm proposals, while Suffolk County Council has said it remains supportive of the principle of Sizewell C but couldn't' back plans in their current guise.
Councillor Tony Cooper, also an Aldeburgh and Leiston councillor has not resigned and remains the point of contact for those in the area.
Steve Gallant, council leader and head of the Conservative group at the authority said: "It is always disappointing when councillors choose to resign part-way through a term of office as it leaves a democratic void and closes an important route in to the council for local people. We will therefore look to hold a by-election for these two positions in the near future.
“Meanwhile, and supported by colleagues, Councillor Tony Cooper as the remaining ward member will be doing all he can to ensure that residents are provided with a reliable point of contact for local issues they wish to raise.”
A spokesman from the Save East Suffolk campaign group against those energy projects said: "We have lost two amazing councillors and have the threat of multiple energy projects on our doorstep because of East Suffolk's extremely detrimental energy aspirations."
Fiona Gilmore from fellow campaigners Suffolk Energy Action Solutions said it was "disappointing" but respected the decisions of the two councillors and hoped they would continue to campaign for the communities during a "pivotal moment" in the process.
The resignations came the day after polling day for the 2021 local elections, which included two by-elections for East Suffolk. A date for the new by-elections have not yet been set.