Hadleigh deputy mayor resigns following row with town councillors

historical view pictures in hadleigh'Guildhall
historical view pictures in hadleigh'Guildhall

A row over the suspension of work on a town plan for Hadleigh has resulted in the deputy mayor resigning.

Hadleigh town councillor Bill Wilson resigned on Friday, saying he could not work with a number of councillors due to their attitude and behaviour towards him.

In his resignation letter, which was published on a social media site for Hadleigh, Mr Wilson, who represented Hadleigh north, said: “A council where the town clerk suspends a committee’s work and cancels meetings without reference to the councillors is not a place I can, or wish, to work.

“It is my view that this council has ceased to be an effective body of representation and, therefore, it should stand down for fresh elections, which can only be achieved through mass resignation.”

It follows the suspension of work by the neighbourhood plan working group, of which Mr Wilson was a member, last summer by town council clerk Carol Bailey, and the introduction of mediators to resolve the issue.

But Mr Wilson said that, in his view, mediation could not repair “damage already inflicted” on the authority.

He said: “Initially, the clerk told the councillors that the reason for suspending the working group was that there had to be an equal number of councillors and residents on it.

“On September 21, the clerk stated at the town council meeting that circumstances led her to believe that the council was being brought into disrepute.

“Which of these statements are correct, I do not know, but it is indicative of the culture of the current town council, as any questions directed at resolving the matter are aggressively dismissed.”

This week, Hadleigh Town Council was keeping tight-lipped about the row.

Mrs Bailey was not available for comment and a spokeswoman said the council was not making any statements about the situation.

Mr Wilson said it saddened him to write his resignation letter as he had always given his best in the role of town councillor.

He added: “I feel that I cannot work with a number of councillors due to their attitude and behaviour towards me, other councillors and members of the public.

“I have been accused of harassing and bullying the town clerk because I repeatedly questioned the authority by which she suspended the neighbourhood plan working group,” he said.

“Some councillors believe that because they have 10, 20 or more years of experience, their views are more valid than newer councillors.

“Years of service does not equate to experience, and a belief that what was done in the past should continue unquestioned pervades the council.

“​I also have difficulty resolving the conflict of interest caused by councillors being trustees for the Hadleigh Market Feoffmont Charity, which is responsible for the upkeep of the Guildhall complex.”