Bank Parish council members throw in towel after feeling 'disempowered'

Dorset Echo: PARISH BUST-UP: John Coombe PARISH BUST-UP: John Coombe

FIVE councillors have resigned, claiming that everything they try to do is met with opposition.

The five members of Chesil Bank Parish Council have thrown in the towel because they claim they have become ‘disempowered’.

The councillors wrote an open letter to council chairman John Coombe explaining the reasons for their resignation.

It was hand-delivered to residents in Portesham, which four of the ex-councillors – Stuart Bainbridge, David Blackwell, Peter Craggs and Vaughan Jones – represented.

Throwing in the towel as a representative of Abbotsbury on the once 14-member parish council was Nigel Melville.

Mr Bainbridge said: “We’ve had quite a few people speaking to us about it, saying ‘what a shame’ because things had improved so much.”

In the letter, the councillors say: “We feel that it has become increasingly difficult to achieve anything further for the people of Portesham.”

The letter lists achievements the five Portesham councillors say they have accomplished over the last 16 months, including re-instating the bus shelter, road safety improvements, providing grit bins and introducing a Portesham parish newsletter.

Addressing Mr Coombe directly, the letter says: “We have found that nearly everything we have suggested has been met with opposition.

“Individual councillors have been excluded from group meetings and communications – either deliberately or through incompetence.

“You have been chairman now for 20 years when it is widely recognised as good democratic practice to change the chairmanship every two to four years.”

Mr Bainbridge, of Porte-sham, said the group’s resignation was ‘a difficult decision to make.’ “It’s roughly 40 per cent that have resigned. That suggests something isn’t quite right.

“Mr Coombe’s view is that it’s an act of petulance.

“We didn’t want to be seen as throwing our dollies out of the pram – it was a difficult decision to make.

“The time came when enough was enough.”

Some residents are in support of Portesham becoming an independent parish, he said.

Portesham resident David Block said he was concerned to receive the letter of resignations.

“It raises concerns about the way the council has been run.

“Those councillors were all independents and I voted for them. “If it’s true then there’s a problem.”

Ten members of the public will have to request an election from West Dorset District Council to replace the councillors.

Residents should contact the parish clerk for details.

‘They Have Their Own Agenda’

JOHN Coombe, of Fleet, responded to the open letter in the Chesil Magazine.

He said: “I was disappointed that the four councillors no longer wish to work within the CBPC and that they seem to be heading off with their own agenda.

“The chairmanship of the group is decided afresh each year by the votes of the parish councillors.

“I can assure everyone that Chesil Bank Parish councillors care as passionately about Portesham as they do about their own parishes and wish to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the majority of the residents in Portesham as well as the other parishes.”

Comments (5)

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1:48pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Hateignorance says...

'Disempowerment' - where have we heard that before? Democracy in name only is unfortunately the credo for the majority of institutions. Letting people have a true voice is far too dangerous - they might actually use it. If you have a principle stand up for it!
'Disempowerment' - where have we heard that before? Democracy in name only is unfortunately the credo for the majority of institutions. Letting people have a true voice is far too dangerous - they might actually use it. If you have a principle stand up for it! Hateignorance
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Thu 4 Oct 12

slepe12 says...

Maybe its time the Parish Council is removed from the Governmental process. Many are like the one in question, "talking shops" with little or no influence in the decision making process. Often the members are returned un-opposed and are more likely to be affected by local vested interests. It is very unlikely that their removal would hardly be noticed by the majority of the electorate.
Maybe its time the Parish Council is removed from the Governmental process. Many are like the one in question, "talking shops" with little or no influence in the decision making process. Often the members are returned un-opposed and are more likely to be affected by local vested interests. It is very unlikely that their removal would hardly be noticed by the majority of the electorate. slepe12
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Thu 4 Oct 12

unexpected error says...

Any link to the recent letter about 'urban imigrants'?
Any link to the recent letter about 'urban imigrants'? unexpected error
  • Score: 0

10:37am Fri 5 Oct 12

humblepeasant says...

Dear Everybody

As councillors of fully 15 months standing we are hugely upset that the rest of the council won't unanimously support everything we put forward. We are also upset that the council’s democratic process has prevented one of us becoming chairman. The other councillors must be crazy not to vote for us.

Therefore we are resigning and making a lot of noise in the hope that the current democratically elected chairman will also resign, at which point we will stand again for election.

If that fails to bring us to power we will attempt to take Portesham out of the Chesil Bank Parish Council group which has served these rural parishes well for 40 years.





And they say the dolly hasn’t left the pram? lol
Dear Everybody As councillors of fully 15 months standing we are hugely upset that the rest of the council won't unanimously support everything we put forward. We are also upset that the council’s democratic process has prevented one of us becoming chairman. The other councillors must be crazy not to vote for us. Therefore we are resigning and making a lot of noise in the hope that the current democratically elected chairman will also resign, at which point we will stand again for election. If that fails to bring us to power we will attempt to take Portesham out of the Chesil Bank Parish Council group which has served these rural parishes well for 40 years. And they say the dolly hasn’t left the pram? lol humblepeasant
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Fri 5 Oct 12

gestco says...

why is it that people can come into the village and live, and want to change everything in 5 minutes, new ideas need debating, some of the changes have been a waste of money. the precepts have gone up by nearly 400%.

before you take portesham out of the group you have to consult people, i live very near the village but none of you have come and consulted with me.
why is it that people can come into the village and live, and want to change everything in 5 minutes, new ideas need debating, some of the changes have been a waste of money. the precepts have gone up by nearly 400%. before you take portesham out of the group you have to consult people, i live very near the village but none of you have come and consulted with me. gestco
  • Score: 0

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