Third Seaford Tory quits in council tax increase row

Councillor Sylvia Dunn
Councillor Sylvia Dunn

A THIRD Tory Seaford councillor has resigned from the town’s Conservative group as the row over the council tax increase continues.

The Gazette has already reported how Andrew Hamilton quit after his colleagues backed a near 10 per cent rise in the town council portion of residents’ council tax.

Last week Councillor Maxine Buck resigned from the Seaford Conservative Group to become an independent and now Councillor Sylvia Dunn has taken the same action.

In a statement issued to the Gazette, the Whiteley Close resident said, “It is with profound regret that I must announce my resignation from the Conservative group of Seaford Town Council. I wish to continue to serve the people of Seaford as an Independent.

“This decision has not been easy but I have found it increasingly difficult to be the kind of councillor I want to be because of the general attitude towards those of us who did not toe the group’s line.

“I must be free to speak my mind on behalf of my constituents without fear of intimidation or abuse.”

“I would also like to put the record straight, I along with Cllr Maxine Buck and Andy Hamilton opposed the increase in the precept, I was also threatened with suspension if I voted against the proposed rise.

“Something as important as this should have been discussed in more detail.”

Councillor Ian White, leader of Seaford Town Council, defended the decision to increase the council tax, saying other towns such as Newhaven had also increased their precept which meant residents in Band D properties there were paying £94.06 in the town council portion of their tax as opposed to £50.82 in Seaford.

He added, “If you look at Newhaven they (the councillors) don’t seem to have any issues with them putting the tax up.

“I think we are the 10th lowest town council precept in the Lewes district.

“We have the largest town in the district and when you look at Lewes and their tax which is nearly £120 it puts it into perspective.

“The council needs the money to push the town forward.”

Councillor Dunn added “I haven’t forgotten that it is my constituents who voted for me and put me in this privileged position.

“I answer to them first and foremost.

“I would also like to say that I remain a member of the Conservative Party and continue to support them at national level.”