Five councillors resign over Localism Act

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EDITOR – It is with great sadness that we advise you of a major change within Bishop Norton Parish Council.

Effective July 28th 2012 the resignation of five of the seven councillors has been received.

The reason for this action has been the very recent notification of the terms of the new Localism Act 2011, in particular the requirements of the Register of Members interests.

This requires councillors to register a large number of personal, employment and financial details of themselves, and their spouses/partners, with the district council and all this information to then be available online on the council’s website for access by anyone. We have resigned as we are not prepared to have this information available in this way.

There is general disquiet about these new terms in that they should not be applicable to volunteer, unpaid parish councillors who are just trying to help their community. The old system of councillors having to ‘declare an interest’ at council meetings before any discussion or decision has worked very well up to now.

The Act carries the penalty of a criminal conviction with fines up to £5000 for any councillors not completing the Register accurately and fully, and complying with the implementation date of July 1st + 28 days.

We know that the parish council cannot function in the short term with just two councillors and thecClerk and contact is on-going with West Lindsey District Council to try and resolve. In the short term if you have any queries then please contact the clerk, Viv Hallam, who will do her best to assist.

We can only thank all of you for your support over the years and hope you will understand the reasons for our very difficult and to us upsetting decision. We have all enjoyed working for the community and hopefully ‘making a difference’ and wish there had been some other solution to enable us to continue.

Neil Flear, Rodney Barbour, Mick Drury, Lynn Wendt, Dave Smith

Bishop Norton