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Only Three of Normandy Parish Council’s Nine Members Are Left

Published on: 15 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 16 Feb, 2021

By Martin Giles

Normandy Parish Council (NPC) seems to be imploding, the original nine members now apparently reduced to just three, chairman Alan Cheesman, his wife Val, and Geoff Doven.

The vice-chair, Dave Simmons, told The Dragon he has left for “personal reasons”, joining the three councillors who resigned in the wake of an ill-tempered council meeting on January 27.

The details of another councillor, Neil Aust, his register of interests and photo, have also disappeared from the NPC website so, it seems, he too has resigned. All he would say to The Dragon was: “Speak to the parish clerk.”

The status of Peter Palmer, who says he is living in France, and who thought his membership had lapsed, remains ambivalent. Today (February 14) he would say only: “I have no comment. Speak to the parish clerk.”

Mr Palmer’s last recorded attendance at a NPC meeting was in May 2020 [not November 2020 as previously reported by us in error]. Normally, councillors are disqualified if they do not attend a meeting for six months and long-term absence had not been agreed by a full parish council.

If disqualification is confirmed, just the three councillors will be left. But the council requires only three members to hold quorate meetings.

On February 9, the parish council published a notice on its website advertising the three vacancies left by the resignations of Cllrs Cunningham, Middleton and Lawson (see story above).

On February 10, in response to questions, parish clerk Leslie Clarke emailed: “I repeat that I am off sick and will deal with your enquiry on my return to work.”

If 10 Normandy voters request a by-election it is likely to be held on May 6, to coincide with county council elections. But if fewer than 10 voters make a request the remaining councillors are expected to co-opt members of their choice.

It is suspected that some councillors were not fully aware of the results of recent audits, before they were reported in The Dragon. Former vice-chair Mr Simmons, asked if he knew of the audit reports, said: “Not really.” He declined to explain further.

See other Normandy Parish Council stories here.

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