By Coun Martin Terry Leader of the Independent Group on Southend City Council.
THE FUTURE OF LEIGH TOWN COUNCIL AND INTEGRITY
I started out being involved in Leigh affairs as Chairman of the now defunct Leigh Residents Association nearly 30 years ago.
When I first became involved Mike King, well known Liberal Councillor, was the Chairman.
Mike was a champion of Leigh having campaigned against the Road to the West, building on Belton Fields and many other causes such as the Restoration of the Endeavor.
I was born and bred in Leigh myself and feel the same enthusiasm for my birthplace.
The Road to the West was Southend Councils proposed solution to alleviate traffic congestion. A hairbrained scheme to extend a road from Chalkwell Promenade out to the west, thereby obliterating Old Leigh and the cinder path between Chalkwell and Leigh.
Thank goodness Mike stopped this, his legacy is amazing and will stand there for ever.
Part of Mike’s strong passion was Leigh’s unique identity within Southend’s boundary. He always felt the Leigh was somewhat ignored by its big brother, Southend Council and I concur with this.
As a result Mike started to campaign for the setting up of Leigh Town Council. A referendum was held and this was duly supported by the residents of Leigh.
Mike was very clear about the role of the Town Council, in particular its political stance. He rightly felt that the Town Council should be free of party politics. There would be little sense in having another tier of politicians obeying their political masters in Southend or indeed at party HQ.
I totally agree and think no Council should be dominated by party politics. A group of automatons being told how to vote, working to some alien ideology that places the party as a priority over electors.
I suspect I have this bug having served as an elected Independent for 20 years.
Mike was very clear, Leigh Town Council must be free of party politics. He wanted genuine community activists, not party activists, to run Leigh, for Leigh.
As a result all Councillors were elected as Independents with Mike at the helm. It has served the community of Leigh very well, helping to foster its unique identity. Sadly, this has all changed now and the very existence of Leigh Town Council is at risk, party political shenanigans are in play.
Very disturbing tweets have been publicly shared by a group calling itself @ScrapleighTC predicting the downfall of the Town Clerk as far back as last December.
This group is allegedly associated with the current Tory group running your Town Council.
Hey presto, the Town Clerk has now been suspended some 6 months later. The Southend Conservatives have taken over. Their first major decision was to attempt to give themselves an enormous 500% increase in allowances.
That should tell you all you need to know, are they in it for the community of Leigh or themselves and the Tory Party?
These scandalous tweets are damning in their own right. One speaks of the demise of the Town Clerk and the other about the future of Leigh Town Council itself. I have sought answers from the Tory Leader Bernard Arscott regarding these serious matters, but as yet nothing has been said.
These tweets challenge the integrity of the leadership and intentions of the Tory Councillors. I understand there may well be “legal implications” however the aforementioned is enough for me and you to call for a vote of no confidence in the current Tory Councillors.
If their sole intention is to destroy your Town Council they should all stand down now.
Minutes of meetings are not being kept and are being held in secret. No agenda’s are being published and your Town Council is descending into chaos, I would suggest this is deliberate.
The 3 remaining Independent Councillors are being totally excluded from all meetings of this Tory clique.
Fresh elections should be called. It is up to the people of Leigh to protect the valuable asset you have and stop these people destroying this community asset. The Council needs to go back to its roots, be truly independent in spirit and in practice, run by Independent resident community activists, as intended by Mike King.
It is time for Leigh residents to step forward, call a vote of no-confidence, challenge and save your town Council, or lose it.
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