Atherstone civic leader ‘told to cut term of office’ in major intervention by monitoring authority

  Posted: 17.06.20 at 18:21 by Nick Hudson

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NUB NEWS UNDERSTANDS COUNCILLOR DENISE CLEWS SHOULD ‘ONLY HAVE BEEN INSTALLED FOR ONE YEAR’

WARWICKSHIRE ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS ADVISE TOWN AUTHORITY TO ‘FIND A NEW MAYOR AND CHAIRMAN FOR 2021’

ATHERSTONE’s civic leader is facing the threat of having her term of office halved in a dramatic intervention by a monitoring authority, Nub News understands.

Last month coronavirus was given as a substantive reason Denise Clews was being installed as chairman and mayor of Atherstone Town Council for a two-year stint.

The decision – opposed by Labour members on the authority – was voted through by the Tory majority in view of the “present situation” regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first ‘virtual’ gathering in the authority’s history – with all the action relayed courtesy of Zoom collaboration – produced a number of political divergences of opinion on how the town council should be led in the coming years including whether to “reunite” its two leading roles.

Central member Jacky Chambers pushed for the status quo to be maintained with a separate chairman and mayor which has been in situ for the year 2019/20.

Councillor Chambers felt the move which saw Councillor David Wright as chairman and Councillor Carl Gurney as mayor last year had “worked extremely well in terms of the distribution of workload and the ways both those roles were fulfilled”.

She called for the “the split” to be maintained despite the “custom and practice” of previous years for the duties to be carried out by one person, adding: “I think it very helpful to have two different individuals fulfilling them.”

But Nubs News has been told that the town clerks have been advised by the Warwickshire Association of Local Councils that Councillor Clews cannot remain in situ for two years.

County officer John Crossling had reportedly told the town councillors they must go back to drawing board and find a civic leader for year 2021/22 which puts current Councillor Ray Jarvis to be mayor of both town and borough councils at the same time – as he is currently “next in line” to be first citizen of North Warwickshire next May.

It appears Councillor Wright could have stayed for a second year under the terms agreed by the WALC – but not for any new incoming leader.

The matter looks set to be raised at tonight’s second virtual meeting of the council, although it not currently on the agenda.

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A message from the Editor, Nick Hudson


Hi, I'm Nick Hudson, the Editor of Atherstone Nub News.

I began my local news career almost half a century ago by covering the town for the old Atherstone, Nuneaton & Bedworth Observer. I attended the Shrovetide Ball Game and reported on the old Southern League Premier side Atherstone Town when ex-England keeper Gil Merrick was the manager, coaching a young Gerry Peyton who went on to hold the No 1 jersey for the Republic of Ireland. Later I was to be the first team captain of Atherstone Hockey Club, and its chairman.

I'm now back to my roots and I want you - the great people of Atherstone - to join me in making the news in your own images. We're going back in time to resurrect a bygone golden age of local reporting while embracing all the advantages of the modern digital era where information is available 24/7 with "your town in your pocket".

We're here to get to the heart and soul of the community, delivering local news and covering national issues on your doorstep. There will always be a good read on Atherstone Nub News - because it's about you.

You can contact me with your Atherstone news by phoning 07852 490666 or by emailing [email protected].