Mid Suffolk village looking for new parish council after mass resignation

Tostock

Most of Tostock Parish Council has resigned. - Credit: Archant

Mid Suffolk council may have to step in to run a strife-riven parish which has seen two-thirds of its members resign or be disqualified from office after months of arguments and legal action.

Tostock Parish Council, from near Stowmarket, is facing a judicial review of its decision to disqualify parish councillor Olivia Boland who had failed to attend a meeting for six months or to send in a formal apology for absence.

After Mrs Boland obtained an injunction preventing her removal while judicial review proceedings started, five of the eight remaining parish councillors resigned - including the chair and vice-chair.

That left just three parish councillors - the bare minimum required for a quorum at meetings.

Mid Suffolk has now been asked to intervene. A spokesman for the district said: "We are aware of the situation at Tostock Parish Council and have been supporting the parish with governance advice to try to ensure it can fairly and legally continue to fulfil its democratic duties for the village. 

"With three parish councillors still in post, the council is technically still quorate, however this does not provide any scope to allow for absences or conflicts of interest, so we are now looking at our options in terms of exercising our power to appoint parish councillors to fill the vacancies.

"There are, however, a number of legal steps that have to be taken first, including obtaining a Section 91 Order under the Local Government Act 1972 and convening an Extraordinary Meeting of the parish council.  We should have a clearer idea of next steps and likely timings over coming weeks."

More councillors will have to be appointed to maintain the parish council until the next elections are held in 2023.

One of the councillors who resigned said they felt it was best if there was a new start after the problems over the last year which started when Mrs Boland questioned a decision to hold an outdoor meeting last summer to approve some accounts - and continued until she was formally disqualified from office earlier this year.




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