Fed up councillor quits

Joseph O'Riordan
Joseph O'Riordan

A councillor has quit his position on Polegate Town Council saying he is fed up with in-fighting by members who are not working for the good of the town.

Joe O’Riordan joined the council as a Polegate Residents’ Association member two years ago but quit last week.

Mr O’Riordan said he decided to step down because he said he felt many of his colleagues on the council were there purely to boost their own egos and were backing proposals that could be to the detriment of Polegate and its residents.

He said, “I did not enter local politics for any form of self-gratification but because I grew to love Polegate and felt I would like to give something back to the town and its residents by serving as a town councillor. Initially it became an enjoyable part of my life of which I was proud, being fortunate in having the time to devote to it, but I came to realise that all was not what it seemed and the failure of the council to work together as a team for the benefit of Polegate was of great concern to me.

“I believed the 15 elected councillors would work together for the good of Polegate but how naive I was. I have never in 30 years of having chaired or sat on various committees had the misfortune to sit on such a disjointed committee.

“The in-fighting of the different groups is at times bewildering and there is determination of some councillors not to allow the ‘other side’ to take any credit irrespective of the good which may emerge for the town or its residents.”

Mr O’Riordan said two examples of poor behaviour lie with the Liberal Democrats during the August 2012 Wealden District Council elections when, in election material, they wrongly accused Polegate Town Council of supporting a planning application for a medical centre on the War Memorial Ground yet 10 months later were supporting the potential use of the ground for commercial development as offices.

Leader of the Lib Dems on the town council, Chris Berry said Mr O’Riordan’s resignation came as a complete surprise.

“We weren’t aware there was a problem,” she said, “and the first we knew was an email from the town clerk saying he had resigned. Like all councils, we have our ups and downs but Polegate Town Council works very well.”

Councillor Jill Voyce, who heads up the members of Polegate Residents’ Association on the council, said Mr O’Riordan was a good councillor who would be missed.

“It is his personal opinion, it was a personal decision to resign and it’s a shame because he was a good councillor. We are sorry he took that decision.”