Clenchwarton parish councillor resigns in row over cash and sprays

Clenchwarton Memorial Hall ANL-160114-154815009
Clenchwarton Memorial Hall ANL-160114-154815009
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A West Norfolk parish councillor has resigned after three decades in his role following disputes over spraying and spending.

Trevor Collison, whose resignation from Clenchwarton’s parish council was announced at its latest meeting, said he felt his views went “unheard” by the authority.

But his former colleagues have defended their recent financial record and voted to stop the council or its staff using spray products, such as weed killers, altogether.

In his resignation letter, Mr Collison said he was concerned about the way the council was being run.

Most of his grievances related to financial matters, including the employment of a specialist financial officer as well as a parish clerk.

He argued that the village had become “very untidy” and extra expenditure was being incurred both by appointing outside bodies to tidy up the churchyard instead of engaging their own ground staff, which includes his son, Nigel, and through the use of more expensive equipment suppliers.

He also criticised what he claimed were efforts to stop groundstaff from using weedkillers, when they can still be used.

And he claimed the council was paying for a fuel card for a petrol station that is currently closed.

Mr Collison wrote: “I know it’s only 60p a month, but it’s not the point. It’s council money.

“After 30 years on the parish council, I just feel enough is enough.

“I was elected onto the parish council by parishioners, but it seems my advice goes unheard.”

Mr Collison’s decision to resign as a councillor was not discussed directly during Thursday evening’s meeting at the Memorial Hall.

But one of his former council colleagues, Karl Tordoff, insisted that increased spending was currently necessary for the authority to address issues within the village.

He said: “It’s going to be more short-term, while we get caught up.”

As discussions later turned towards the issue of sprays, Mr Tordoff said that some residents had questioned their use, while the practice had also been banned by other parish authorities.

Concerns over the potential environmental impact of using the liquids were also raised.

And Mr Tordoff suggested the practice could also pose a risk to the council.

He said: “If a young child or a pet gets ill, we could foot the bill for that.”

Chairman Sheila James supported the ban proposal, saying she felt the practice was unnecessary, as other instruments, such as strimmers, could be used to clear weeds and debris.

However, the village’s allotment holders will still be able to use sprays on their plots.