'Disillusioned' Thornbury Town Councillor Rob Hudson resigns
A DISILLUSIONED Thornbury leader, feeling let down by the democratic process, has handed his resignation to the mayor.
Independent Rob Hudson is standing down from Thornbury Town Council after refusing to sign up the new stricter code of conduct for local government members enforced nationwide.
Mr Hudson had argued that the code and its register of interests would prevent him from properly representing the views of the Thornbury North East constituents who voted him in power.
Under the old system, councillors considered to "have an interest" in a particular issue on the agenda, whether because they lived in the area or had links with an organisation about to be debated, were allowed to express their electors' concerns or opinion before withdrawing from the debate.
The new register of interest now forbids councillors from speaking before leaving the chamber, hampering members in their duties, Mr Hudson felt. Failing to sign up to the code would have seen him disqualified as a councillor and eventually stripped of his functions.
In his letter of resignation he told Mayor Phyllida Parsloe: "The old code of conduct was restrictive enough as far as personal and prejudicial interests were concerned, but the new one promises to be even more so.
"I feel I can represent the interests of the residents of North West Thornbury, as well as my family and friends, more effectively as a member of the public than as a councillor."
Mr Hudson had joined the Lib Dem council as an independent 20 months ago along with Cllrs Vincent Costello and Gareth Davies. Along with the pair, he had fought to protect Park Farm and its listed medieval fishponds from development.
Despite their long-running battle, the local authority backed by a majority of town leaders and a planning inspector, chose to turn the Tudor deer park into a housing estate, further driving a wedge between Lib Dem and independents on the council.
"The decision to destroy the deer park with houses, as well as cause substantial damage to the setting of listed assets (South Gloucestershire Council’s own words) shows how pathetic the ‘safeguards’ for our heritage are, and how little those in authority care for them," he added in his letter.
"Having now had some 20 months to see town and district councils in action, I admit that I am totally disillusioned by the whole process, and I think I can spend my time more usefully in other ways."