Hadleigh group to make second attempt to oust town councillors
Critics of the fractured Hadleigh Town Council believe residents would vote to oust the current councillors, as they make a second attempt to secure a referendum on the council’s future.
Hadleigh Together, a newly-formed local opposition group, made a formal request for another public meeting to be held this month, so it could submit a fresh motion calling for a referendum on whether every town councillor should resign their seats.
A motion was proposed at the official annual town meeting last month, as a result of long-standing disputes over local matters and council conduct, and gained 24 supporting votes from those in attendance.
However, it was later ruled invalid by Babergh District Council’s monitoring officer, as it did not meet the requirement of providing a question in a suitable ‘yes or no’ format.
But former deputy mayor Bill Wilson, who put forward the proposal, told the Free Press that he had cleared the wording of the new motion and will present it at the second town meeting in the town hall on May 24, from 7pm.
He is optimistic it will succeed, stating the Hadleigh Together group had gained strong backing locally and had a group of independents willing to stand for election if the current council stood down.
“I am very confident the voters of Hadleigh will support the referendum,” said Mr Wilson, who resigned from the council in January after internal disputes.
“At the annual meeting, some councillors complained the referendum will cost in the region of £5,000. If they stood down now, there would be no need for a referendum.
“What I hope for is that all councillors stand down and allow the people of Hadleigh to decide who they want to represent them.”
Tensions at the council stem from disagreements over the Hadleigh Neighbourhood Plan and the suspension of the working group, as well as the handling of council finances and local developments.
Ex-deputy mayor Bill Wilson and sitting councillors Rickaby Shearly-Sanders and Anita Young have claimed town clerk Carol Bailey acted beyond her authority on these matters.
Mrs Bailey has accused the three councillors of bullying, harassment and intimidation – accusations which they have vehemently denied.