Councillor Bolton – Resignation

Here’s a copy of councillor Bolton’s recent resignation letter to the parish council.

I became a Parish Councillor in October 2019 because I hoped to make a difference; the Council was falling short of many of the protocols required as a properly functioning Parish Council, e.g. no website, failure to deal properly with planning applications,  insufficient transparency etc,  and I was keen to work towards properly representing the interests of the local community and addressing local issues and concerns.  Councillor Goldstone was co-opted at the same time and we shared similar views and objectives.

Unfortunately any efforts to address these issues was frequently ignored or opposed and it became apparent that existing Councillors and the Parish Clerk did not share our enthusiasm to ‘put things right’.  2020 was a particularly bad year for the Council; lockdown made it necessary to undertake meetings using ‘Zoom ‘ and this was bitterly opposed by the rest of the Council and several meetings were boycotted as a result.  Later in the year it became apparent that the total inefficiency of the Council in the two years preceding our co-option meant that failure to meet the strict financial disclosures and send completed financial statements in time resulted in fines totally almost £1400 – a vast amount in relation to our precept of £4,180!

The finally straw took place at meetings in March 2020, November 2020 and January 2021 when the same excellent candidate applied for co-option onto the Council and was enthusiastically supported by parishioners,   several who spoke in the public session and 12 who sent emails supporting her application.  Despite this massive show of support from what is a large percentage of parishioners from this tiny hamlet, on each occasion an opposing candidate was co-opted in her stead!  This failed candidate would have been the only member of the Council living in Huntshaw itself and was eminently suitable and very well qualified for the role.  As it is now, of the five Councillors supposed to be representing Huntshaw  I am the only one who actually lives in the Parish.  Three of the remaining four actually work for Staines Trailers, a local Company who are known for openly flouting Planning Laws and whos’ business is creating intolerable living conditions for other local residents, and they all live in other Parishes.  The fourth lives in the Parish of St. Giles in the Wood.

I find I cannot accept the way these co-options were corruptly manipulated to exclude an outstanding candidate, who was clearly the preferred choice of so many of our local parishioners, in favour of their own selected candidates.  It is not democratic, it is against the whole principle of local representation and I do not wish to be part of a Parish Council which is so blatantly acting out of personal interest and directly against the interests of the local community, so I feel I have no choice but to resign.

Helen Bolton

Please accept this as my formal resignation from the Alverdiscott and Huntshaw Parish Council