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