Atherstone mayor and chairman loses year of her term of office

  Posted: 22.06.20 at 21:45 by Nick Hudson

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COUNCILLOR DENISE CLEWS ADMITS: I AM NOT ALLOWED TO SERVE DOUBLE TERM

MISINTERPRETATION OF REGULATIONS REGARDING COVID-19 MEANS TOWN COUNCIL MUST HOLD CIVIC LEADER ELECTION NEXT MAY

ATHERSTONE’S new civic leader has been told she is “not allowed” to serve the town for two years after a misinterpretation of Government rules.

Town council mayor and chairman Denise Clews accepted the advice of a monitoring authority in a dramatic climbdown at the monthly ‘virtual’ meeting.

Councillor Clews was only weeks into her double term when Nub News revealed last week that the Warwickshire Association of Local Councils had intervened over the original decision at May’s annual meeting.

Last month coronavirus was given as a substantive reason Cllr Clews was being installed in both roles for a 24-month 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”.

After Cllr Clews was voted in, the town council received correspondence from the WALC explaining the Government passed Covid-19 regulations which gave parish councils the opportunity to not have an annual meeting this year and continue with their existing chairman and mayor for a second 12-month spell until May 2021.

But WALC county officer John Crossling told Nub News: “If a council decided to hold a virtual annual meeting then it would be for the normal 12-month period, so they would need to have an annual meeting in May 2021 as normal.”

Councillor Sara Bishop, the new Labour group opposition leader on the town council, told the June meeting: “We can only vote a new chairman in for one year.

“Next year we have to vote again.”

Accepting the halving of her term of office with good grace, Cllr Clews said: “We are not allowed to do it.”

Tying up loose ends, town clerk Odette Ghent said: “There will be an election at the next annual meeting.

“Whoever is voted in, it doesn’t matter – but they just have to do the right process.”

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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].