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Town councillors quit

PUBLISHED: 05:47 27 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

TWO Aldeburgh town councillors have resigned, expressing their frustration at how the council operates.

Lee Firman and Derek Simonds were co-opted onto the town council in August 2002, but resigned this month , just a few months before the May elections.

TWO Aldeburgh town councillors have resigned, expressing their frustration at how the council operates.

Lee Firman and Derek Simonds were co-opted onto the town council in August 2002, but resigned this month , just a few months before the May elections.

They issued a statement saying they were "disappointed" that "necessary time" was not devoted to serious issues facing the town, like affordable housing, employment and retail provision, but instead seemed to be dominated by things like last year's row over the floral arrangement at a town roundabout.

"We are disappointed that necessary time is not devoted to this, and more mundane issues such as the floral arrangement (or loss of it) at the roundabout seems to take precedence," they said.

They also said the membership of the council "seriously under-represents many age and working groups within the town", and claimed the timing of planning committee meetings "effectively excludes participation from anyone with employment or family commitments".

"We have all basically come up against a brick wall," explained Mr Firman, second coxswain for the Aldeburgh lifeboat.

"I thought it wasn't going to be easy," he said.

"I didn't realise it was going to be as difficult as it was."

He said the town faced serious problems, such as lack of housing and employment, and a rapidly changing High Street.

"Aldeburgh is not as wealthy a town as people think. There are a lot of young people and a lot of families who do live here who are not earning the average wage," he said.

"You've got a lot of people who are over 60. Aldeburgh needs a good kick up the backside – it's dying on its feet at the moment," he warned.

"Soon the town is going to become a ghost town."

Mr Firman, who is under 30, said that despite his disillusionment, he may consider standing at the May elections.

"Things need to change, like the timing of the planning meetings – 9am on a Monday morning – who with family and work commitments can attend that? I was on the planning committee, but bar me and another, all the rest were over 60," he said.

"Obviously there needs to be a cross-section of the community. I'm not saying all the over 60s should come off. There are a lot of older people in Aldeburgh who need to be represented. Maybe the balance is tipped too far at the moment."

Town mayor Felicity Bromage felt they should have made their concerns known before resigning so that the issues they raised could be addressed.

"I think their expectations about what you could do within the town council were completely unreasonable quite honestly," she said.

"I don't think they gave a proper go of it."

She said the council was not rigid on times of committee meetings for example, and they could have been altered.

"They didn't communicate any uneasiness about anything and if you don't communicate, how can you expect things to change?" she said.


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