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Former Mayor of Shaftesbury Tim Cook quits town council

By Dadcock  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

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Former Mayor of Shaftesbury Tim Cook has resigned from the town council.

And another member has resigned from two Shaftesbury Town Council committees.

Joseph Pestell said he would continue to serve as a councillor.

Both cite increasing levels of disagreements and allegations as reasons for their actions.

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In his resignation letter Mr Cook stated: “It has become clear to me that over the past few months disagreements between councillors have reached an unacceptable level.”

He claims councillors have used bullying tactics and have ignored the process that should be followed when councillors disagree.

Mr Cook, who represented Christy’s Ward, gave his resignation before the start of a full council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Mr Pestell, who also serves Christy’s Ward, said: “People throw around allegations and it has become an atmosphere of mistrust.

“It becomes impossible for the town council to conduct normal business.

“I have decided to stand down from the general management and the planning committees.

“I will continue to serve as a councillor and to continue to give many hours to the council - this is a busy ward.”

He said personal feelings had taken precedence over policies that would benefit the town and its residents.

And he saw little hope of effective action by the town council until the next election, in May 2015.

He said: “Only with a proper mandate for action, validated through the ballot box, will the town’s councillors again be in a position to work effectively in partnership with North Dorset District Council and other local bodies.”

Mr Pestell added: “Three times in the last two weeks I have heard shocking allegations made against the town council and councillors.

“On each occasion no names were given so the entire council gets tarred with the same brush.

“No evidence was provided whatsoever to justify these accusations.”

Fallouts among councillors in recent months have been over issues including management of the open spaces on the development on the eastern edge of Shaftesbury, the installation of a war memorial and a community land trust.

Mr Cook is the fourth councillor to resign in the past nine months. Trevor Toms, Adrian Thompson and Len Alabaster have also left.

Details about filling the vacancy cane be found on the town council’s website. If an election is necessary it will be held by 14th July.

Dee Adcock

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