Call for answers after spate of resignations

Beadnell harbour. By John Leigh
Beadnell harbour. By John Leigh

Suspicious residents are demanding answers after the sudden and quick-fire resignation of three members of a parish council and its clerk.

Councillors Geoff Martindale, Deborah Baker and Trisha McCarthy, and clerk Laurie Gray, all stepped down from Beadnell Parish Council in the space of a few days.

It has left the organisation with only three councillors – just enough to continue to operate as it should.

And last Wednesday, members of the public attended the group’s AGM to find out what prompted the resignations.

But they were left disappointed, as chairman Jennifer Hall would not go into specifics and said she had left the resignation letters at home.

It prompted residents to call for an inquiry. One villager said: “The parish council should justify the reasons behind these resignations. We are owed an explanation.

“It is important because the people in the village – the parish you’re representing – are deeply unhappy about what has happened. I think it needs investigating. It is very unusual.”

The parish council has a number of vacancies, but another resident claimed that the current situation would not help attract candidates.

She said: “With all of this not knowing, it makes you very nervous and I am sure someone who might apply will feel the same.”

In response, Coun Hall said: “Only the people that have resigned know why they have resigned. I am not going to second guess and I won’t be saying why – that is down to the individuals.

“My role is to keep this parish council going. If one of us walks away, we are not quorate and we don’t have a parish council.”