New group planned as Lavant Parish Council depletes

A FORMER parish council chairman is turning her attention to setting up a new residents’ association.

Linda Reed has resigned as chairman of Lavant Parish Council to focus on the areas she feels are ‘really important’ to the village residents.

“I feel that the best interests of the parish are not being addressed,” said Mrs Reed, explaining her reasons for her departure.

Mrs Reed said the division in the committee ‘was all to do with the village shop’ and where to put it.

Although both parties agreed there was a need for a community shop, Mrs Reed said she was ‘against the site they wanted to put it on’ as it was ‘basically on the main road’.

Mrs Reed is the latest in a string of councillors who have decided to resign or move to pastures new, including parish clerk Rebecca Knifton and stalwarts of the council Eric Baldwin, Kevin Chapman and Alan Dickinson.

Mrs Knifton, who has experience on Plaistow, Ifold and Rogate parish councils, described Cllr Reed as the ‘most excellent’ chairman she had worked with. She submitted her resignation from Lavant Parish Council on January 21.

“It is with great sadness that as part of my final workload with Lavant Parish Council, I submit our fourth resignation within a week, three of those within the last 24 hours,” she said.

Jo Osbourne, was co-opted to the council on January 13, but resigned the day after her first parish council meeting. Liz Stanleigh Turner, 
vice-chairman, resigned the day before the parish clerk.

In her resignation letter, the former councillor said: “I have reflected on my role within the Lavant Parish Council and have found that certain of my fellow councillors are not as supportive as I had hoped.”

Ian Hutton has taken on the role of chairman since Mrs Reed’s departure.

“We have had our problems, but we are now moving ahead,” he said. “There have been a whole lot of resignations. The clerk resigned, which left us in a bit of a mess.”

Mr Hutton said there were now only two councillors left from the original council. Three members came through an uncontested election – two of whom had never served as councillors before.

“I’m very sad for the village because they didn’t get the service a parish council can give or might have expected,” said Mr Hutton.

However, he said the parish council had had a ‘positive’ meeting and was looking to the future.

“The budget has now been submitted and accepted and we have a new locum clerk, David Siggs.”

Mr Hutton said he wanted to work cooperatively and keep to the rules.

“To do its job the parish council must be well respected,” he said.

There are five vacancies.