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Mayor insists it is ‘business as usual’ despite vote for town council’s resignation

PUBLISHED: 07:46 30 June 2018

Hadleigh Guildhall, where the votes were counted Picture: GREGG BROWN

Hadleigh Guildhall, where the votes were counted Picture: GREGG BROWN

Defiant town councillors have said they will remain in office despite a parish poll calling for their resignation.

The poll, held on Thursday in Hadleigh, asked voters whether they wanted councillors to stand down due to having no confidence in the “dysfunctional” town council.

Babergh District Council confirmed ‘yes’ won by 489 votes to 252 with a turnout of 11%. However, Babergh added the result was not legally binding and it was for councillors to decide.

The poll had been called by Bill Wilson, a former Hadleigh deputy mayor, who resigned from the council over concerns with the way it had been run.

Mr Wilson said he was pleased the people of Hadleigh had the opportunity to “express their dissatisfaction” with the council.

“Some will say that the turnout was poor and does not represent Hadleigh,” he added.

“I would say that this was a good turnout considering there were only three polling stations open for only five hours, no postal votes, no polling cards, short time scale and an England football match.

“We will now wait and see if any of the councillors who have caused this situation have the integrity to stand down and face an election.”

Hadleigh mayor Peter Matthews, however, said his fellow members had no intention of resigning, as the vote was not legally binding.

“My colleagues and I will remain in office,” he added.

“It will be business as usual until the proper election next May.”

Mr Matthews said that the 489 ‘yes’ votes represented just 6% of the total electorate and was therefore not a full representation of the town’s views.

Steve Allman, a founding member of Hadleigh Together, which backed ‘yes’ said the vote was “an important first step in securing an open, united and, most importantly, functional town council”.

“As with any election, people may try to deflect from the positive outcome by commenting on turnout, the short timeframe and the not insignificant matter of the poll clashing with the England game, but none of that was within our control, nor within Hadleigh Town Council’s control, to be fair,” he added.

Mr Allman said the vote should send a “strong message Hadleigh wants to see positive change”,

Hadleigh Town Council is expected to discuss the vote at its next meeting on July 19.

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