Wall row county councillor resigns
By Graham DinesPolitical EditorA CONSERVATIVE county councillor at the centre of a dispute over a wall separating his property from a primary school has resigned.
By Graham Dines
A CONSERVATIVE county councillor at the centre of a dispute over a wall separating his property from a primary school has resigned.
Nigel Barratt, who has represented Woodbridge since 2001, said problems he had encountered with the council as owners of the school and also as the planning authority had made if difficult for him to continue looking after the interests of his constituents.
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In a letter to Suffolk's chief executive Mike More, Mr Barratt - who lives in The Thoroughfare in Woodbridge - said the unresolved dispute over the status of the wall between his home and the school's swimming pool "continues to put me in a difficult position."
The proposed relocation of the school from New Street to Pytches Road, as part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of Woodbridge two centre which would involve the construction of a library on the school site;, placed him in an "impossible position," he said.
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"These factors, the circumstances surrounding them, and the disillusionment with the council that they have created, make it impossible for me to properly represent the interests of Woodbridge and are interfering with other aspects of my work with the council."
Mr Barratt told the EADT: "For legal reasons, I cannot say too much about the boundary dispute, other than that I have tried to settle it amicably.
"I believe that the wall is a joint boundary 150 years' old, which predates the school built in 1906 and also my 1950s home.
"The problem I encounter is that county council not only owns the school but is the planning authority of its own property - it's an incestuous situation which prevents me from speaking up on behalf of the people of Woodbridge.
"I now believe that I am doing the honourable in resigning from the county council. However, for the time being at least, I will remain a member of Suffolk Coastal district council."
Mr Barratt fought against the construction of the newly-opened controversial Martlesham park-and-ride site, which be said would have a major impact on Woodbridge as a viable shopping centre.