Mass resignations as Boston Spa council ‘split in half’

Boston Spa village hall, where the parish council monthly meeting is held.
Boston Spa village hall, where the parish council monthly meeting is held.
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Fractions at Boston Spa parish council have led to four members resigning from their posts this week.

The four newest members told the parish council ahead of the monthly meeting, held this week, that they would resign effective immediately.

Boston Spa Parish Coun Tim Baker with residents Ken Waller and Steve Morritt outside The Crown Hotel.

Boston Spa Parish Coun Tim Baker with residents Ken Waller and Steve Morritt outside The Crown Hotel.

After the meeting, former Coun Tim Baker, who walked out after serving as a parish councillor for more than three years, said there had been a ‘difference of opinion’ that drove the members to hand in their resignations.

“I really enjoyed trying to make an effort to benefit residents in Boston Spa,” he said.

“But it was clear from the goings on within the council that there was a difference of opinion that pretty much split the parish council in half, which is a great shame when people are trying to do the right thing.

“It is to a point when a person can only take so much, particularly at this important stage when the neighbourhood plan is coming together.”

NAWN 1406241AM6 Robert Wivell.  Picture : Adrian Murray. (1406241AM6)

NAWN 1406241AM6 Robert Wivell. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1406241AM6)

According to Mr Baker, the last six people to have resigned from the parish council have been new and ‘invigorated’, but decided they could no longer continue in post.

He added: “To be fair we did have meetings to try and resolve these issues, but clearly they failed abysmally.

“There are many projects we should be pleased about, like getting a twitter account set up and the alterations at Stables Lane, and we planned for more that will have to be postponed at least.

“The parish council may choose to continue with dwindling numbers until next May, when the whole council will be up for election.

“Perhaps a fresh start will be just what it needs.”

Council chair Robert Wivell, who has served on the council for 13 years, also announced he would be stepping down from his position and will not run as a councillor again at the May 2015 election.

After the meeting, he told the Wetherby News that these dramatic changes were due to an ‘internal disagreement’.

“The straightforward answer is that we have had an internal disagreement and the upshot is that four people have resigned,” he said.

“I have decided I am overcommitted and I will step down as chair, and when the term of office ends in May I will not be standing again. I have done 13 years and that is enough.”

In a word of thanks, Coun Wivell added:“The people who have resigned have done some very valuable work and it is much appreciated.

“There is no profit for anyone in opening things up for general discussion.”

The minutes of the meeting will reflect the resignations and, the Wetherby News has learned, parish councillors who have resigned will be contacted.