As three step down, it’s in your hands

Hebden Bridge Town Hall
Hebden Bridge Town Hall

Three of Hebden Royd’s town councillors have stepped down leaving a potential election in the hands of the public.

Councillors Nader Fekri (Lab), James Baker (Lib Dem) and John Beacroft-Mitchell (Lib Dem) all handed in letters of resignation within a week of each other.

Town clerk Jason Boom said: “You always have to be mindful that the people who are elected are volunteers so you can understand when being a councillor mixed with other responsibilities becomes a little bit too much.

“Councillor Fekri’s resignation was expected but the other two were more of a surprise. Although they have poor attendance records at meetings in recent months.”

The procedure for replacing the councillors begins with announcement from the Town Council and, if ten members of public call for it with letters in the next two weeks, an election will be held within 60 days. Mr Bloom said if this was the case it would hopeful be included in the Calderdale Council local elections.

“Combining the two would probably mean a better turnout and be better in terms of costs for us,” said Mr Boom. “If there is no election then new members will be co-opted by the existing town councillors.”

Councillor Beacroft-Mitchell said he was extremely proud after eleven years on the council – where he also served as mayor.

He said: “It is with great regret that I tender my resignation as a member of Hebden Royd Town Council.

“I have really enjoyed my time on the town council representing the people of Cragg Vale and representing the area as Mayor but things move on and so must I. Over the course of the last few years my life and personal direction has changed. I’ve changed jobs, I’ve moved house and I have a wonderful family all of which now need greater focus.

“I offer my thanks and regards to each and every member of the council and staff for what has been a rewarding part of my life.”

Councillor Fekri’s resignation was less of a surprise as he plans to move to Turkey with his family and will not be standing for re-election with Calderdale Council in May’s local elections.

He said: “My time on council has taught me much about teamwork, integrity, humility, and always trying to do the right thing by our electors, citizens, and communities.

“I believe in town and parish councils as the first layer of democracy, indeed the layer of government closest to the people.

“They have a direct uncomplicated relationship with their representatives and officers whom they see and talk with on an almost daily basis.

“I have decided to hand in my resignation so that a by-election may be held simultaneously and coincidentally with those due in Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council.

“I shall not be seeking re-election and shall be standing down from CMBC next month after ten years service.”

Councillor Baker said: “It’s with regret that I am notifying you of my intention to resign as a member of Hebden Royd Town Council. Since being elected in 2011, I am now fortunate to now have a son.

“With that good fortunate comes extra responsibility and pressures on my time.

“I should like to spend more time with my family, and my other public duties and as such intend to resign from Hebden Royd Town Council.”