THE first Leigh Town Council Meeting since the recent elections took place on May 23 at the Leigh Community Centre.
The meeting saw the election of a new Chair, Coun Bernard Arscott, councillor for Highlands Ward, along with the election of the councillors, all conservative, who will sit on the various committees and represent the council at outside organisations.
Controversially, the new council is openly divided along party political lines with 13 of the 16 councillors forming a Conservative block.
Historically, Town councillors have agreed to remain non political in Town Council affairs, focusing instead on what each views as being best for the residents of Leigh.
However, the Conservative group have questioned whether it is possible ‘to leave party politics at the door’ when councillors are often also active members of political parties outside of Leigh Town Council.
In a recent letter to The Leigh News Coun Paul Gilson said: “I am very surprised at some councillors reaction to the Conservatives taking control of Leigh Town Council.
“Nine seats were uncontested. It was only Conservative residents of Leigh who were conscious and caring enough about our town to put themselves forward. We (Conservatives) however did, and we have candidates in the other wards where voting and democracy will be exercised.
“We declared who were are on the council, we did not hide behind being an independent or non political candidate.
“Some of the claims I have heard are laughable, the leader of the Lib-Dems on the City council Coun Mulroney becomes non party and another Coun Rory Windass says he is independent and then stands for the Lib-Dems in another City Council ward.
“Leigh Town council has been very political for many years, the Conservatives have been open about who they are. Why do so many hide behind untruths, we love Leigh and will endeavour to show that in what we do.”
In another recent letter to Leigh News, Valerie Morgan, Past Chair of Leigh Town Council, said: “I was saddened to learn that many of the seats on the Leigh Town Council for 2023-2027 are to be held as Conservative seats.
“Leigh Town Council was established in 1996 as a non political council for the benefit of the people of Leigh.
“Councillors could be members of political parties, but work within the council was to be solely for the good of Leigh.
“To this day that has worked well and when I, as a councillor, attended meetings of the Essex Association of Local Councils I could see how much discord on political lines there often was within the politicised Town and Parish councils that we didn’t have in Leigh.
“It was a pleasure to serve as a Leigh Town Councillor because we all worked for ‘The Good of Leigh.’”
Coun Carole Mulroney stated in a recent Facebook post: “The three non party members, David Bowry, Alan Hart and myself will do everything we can to ensure Leigh Town Council remains independently minded with the residents at the heart.”
Newly elected Chair of the Council, Coun Arscott, announced that his chosen charity for his tenure would be Serving The Homeless, a Leigh based charity formed from five Leigh churches to serve the homeless.
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