Posted: 22.06.20 at 20:28 by Nick Hudson
A NEW councillor has pledged to “work tirelessly” to ensure Atherstone has the brightest possible future as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
Atherstone Partnership chairman Gary Chamberlain has promised to bring together residents and businesses to do much more than just see the town “recovers” from the impact of Covid-19.
The newly co-opted member for Atherstone Town Council Central ward – who saw off a challenge from former councillor Jenny Barnard in a straight fight between two Tory candidates – said he wanted the town to “thrive” for those that follow on.
Councillor Chamberlain, who runs The Printing Shed in the Aracade, said he hoped that in conjunction with his community development work at the partnership, he would be able to boost the town’s profile and footfall to aid business growth.
He said: “I have lived in Atherstone for over 22 years and have dedicated the last six to working in the town centre in my print business.
“Now as a town councillor, I pledge to work tirelessly with residents and businesses to ensure our town not only recovers from the current effects of coronavirus but continues to thrive for future generations.
But his appointment at the June ‘virtual’ meeting was not without drama.
At the May annual meeting of the town council it had been agreed to defer a decision on a future date for the co-opted vacancy decision.
Instead however, prospective candidates, including Cllr Chamberlain and Mrs Barnard, were invited to attend the June meeting of the authority and advised it had been “resolved to put the casual vacancy to the vote”,.
Town councillor Jacky Chambers asked for some clarification after claiming that “liberties” had been taken with the democratic process.
She wrote ‘officially’ to the town council, citing: “This is NOT what was agreed at the first and only Zoom meeting of ATC.
“We simply agreed to defer discussion of this item to a future date, not to defer to the next meeting and then to deal with it.”
Cllr Chambers told Nub News: “I am very surprised to see the deputy town clerk appearing to accelerate a process that had been agreed.”
In the end the June meeting agreed on a vote to co-opt a new councillor to replace the outgoing Councillor Ian Driver went ahead.
Labour’s candidate, Clare Barnett, withdrew her application – leaving two Tories to tussle for the casual vacancy.
Mr Chamberlain won by a convincing margin against former councillor Barnard.