Town council loses four members
THE FUTURE of a fledging town council troubled by "discord" has been brought into question after four members resigned in the space of just days.David Nettleton says the two-year-old Bury St Edmunds Town Council may struggle to find new members to fill empty posts, and warned many already serving felt "frustrated" after the authority failed to establish its own role.
THE FUTURE of a fledging town council troubled by "discord" has been brought into question after four members resigned in the space of just days.
David Nettleton says the two-year-old Bury St Edmunds Town Council may struggle to find new members to fill empty posts, and warned many already serving felt "frustrated" after the authority failed to establish its own role.
The warning comes after former mayor Frank Warby and his wife Pat handed in their resignations for personal reasons.
Fellow member Paul Farmer has also quit, saying he can "no longer share responsibility" for some of the developments which have taken place on the council.
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Terry Buckle decided to stand down citing medical reasons and his duties as a borough councillor.
"Whether the town council has got a future after 2007 is perhaps the question," said Mr Nettleton, who serves on the authority and says seven people have now resigned in the past two years.
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"When it was formed in 2003, lots of people voted in favour of having a town council – but not many wanted to stand for election to it.
"The town council has got a lot of problems, and the question is how we go about dealing with them. "We have not really established an identity as a body and I think some councillors have not found it very satisfying.
"Until the council finds a role for itself, people will get frustrated. It is not looking good at the moment – there has been discord and there is no point in denying it."
Issuing a statement concerning his resignation, Mr Farmer said: "Over recent months my personal view has increasingly been that the council is trying to do and spend too much.
"I now feel it has come to the point where I can no longer share responsibility for developments which I do not support, and therefore I reluctantly feel it is only right for me to resign."
Mr and Mrs Warby have resigned for personal reasons, but confirmed they would retain their roles on St Edmundsbury Borough Council – as will Mr Farmer.
And Mr Warby, who was elected to Suffolk County Council in May, will also continue representing the Eastgate and Moreton Hall ward on that body.
"The highlights have been trying to get the council on its feet and working with other members to make it work for Bury," said Mr Warby, who spent a year as town mayor from 2004 to 2005.
"My year as mayor was nice but getting things done for the town itself is what people pay their precepts for. I have absolutely enjoyed my time and am very sorry to leave."
Mr Buckle said his workload had increased to the point where he was unable to give as much time as he would have liked to the town council, when balancing his duties with those as a borough councillor and on other Bury organisations.
He said: "I think it is only fair, someone else can have a chance to represent the people of the ward, and I can concentrate on representing the people at borough level, and I wish the council well."
Mike Ames, town mayor, said the council would take time to grow, adding it provided a voice to residents of Bury.
"The council is established," he said. "It has got an agenda, and is a young and growing council.
"Like any infant which grows, it becomes more expensive. The money is there, we just want to get it diverted from the borough council to the town council and then we will be more focused and get things done for the town.
"What people fail to realise is that to be in public office, one has to be physically and mentally fit. It takes a great deal of time and commitment, and sometimes people do not realise that until they have filled the role."
Work is now beginning to find replacements for Mr and Mrs Warby, Mr Farmer and Mr Buckle, who all live in the town.
Anyone interested in joining the council should call town clerk Linda Sherer on 01284 725111.