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Parish fallout may see Rottingdean turn red
It is one of the most “true blue” areas in Brighton and Hove.
But could the tiny parish of Rottingdean be going red after a mass walkout of councillors?
Rottingdean Parish Council has lost nearly half its nine members, as well as its clerk, in recent weeks due to resignations.
With an election to replace the four councillors taking place next month, among those standing is former Labour Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Sue John.
Residents of the village hope it does not mark the politicisation of the authority which has been independent since it reformed in 1996.
Former parish chairman Geoff Rhodes, who was first elected to the body 16 years ago and is one of the quartet to step down, said: “I think it will be a great shame if it became politicised.”
The resignations began when John Bustard read out a statement at the council’s September meeting saying he was concerned about the “overregulation” of the latest national code in how elected officials should behave.
He added there had been a recent indication that several councillors felt the way the council did things should be challenged.
At the same meeting, Mr Rhodes said he had already decided to resign in April but to save on election costs of about £4,000 he would bring this forward.
Since then, fellow councillors Brian Parsons and Bill Spencer have announced they will step down.
Mr Spencer said one of the reasons was the reluctance of the city council to spend £70,000 on the seafront toilets near the new arts terrace in Rottingdean.
He added: “I did not feel the parish council was working as a team.”
Lynda Hyde, who represents the area on Brighton and Hove City Council, said she was “very concerned” at the mass walkout.
She added: “I’m disappointed that a number of senior and respected parish councillors have all decided to resign.”
Among the other candidates are former Labour city council cabinet member Jean Spray and Roy Wales, the chairman of Rottingdean Arts.
The election is on November 15, the same day as the election for Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner. A new parish clerk, to replace Jean Talbot, will be announced in a few days.
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