THE troubled parish of Kingsclere now has grass-roots democracy in the shape of a newly-elected parish council.
The nine parish councillors, elected on Thursday September 13, take over from the interim council which was made up of borough councillors from outside the village. The parish council has long been dogged by controversy and it is hoped the new councillors will be able to move on from the infighting, resignations and accusations that have been a problem within the council for many months.
Things came to a head in July when all of the former councillors resigned on masse following a private meeting. At the time, former chairman Richard Smith said he felt unable to continue to work with clerk Sheila Thompson.
Questions had been raised about the parish council accounts relating to the Holding Field Project- allegations which have since been dismissed by an independent audit report. The new councillors are Sue Adams, Janet Bond, James Cruickshank, Alan Denness, Mick Farey, Darren Hardcastle, Ray Peach, Tony Savin and John Sawyer.
Former parish council chairman Peter Woodman was not elected and Jim Gibb – a member of the parish council which resigned in July – also failed to make the cut.
Nearly 20 per cent of the 2,728 villagers eligible to vote in the election did so and 523 ballot papers were issued.
Borough councillor Ranil Jayawardena , who was deputy chairman of the interim council, said: “I am very pleased that the election has been held and councillors elected.
“As is often the case the turnout was quite disappointing but the election of a new council is a good step forward.”