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Calls for Burntwood councillor living 190 miles away from the town to resign

The Old Mining College Centre

Burntwood Town Council’s offices at the Old Mining College Centre

A Burntwood councillor has been urged to resign after continuing to represent her ward – despite moving almost 190 miles away.

Cllr Brenda Rigby

Cllr Brenda Rigby

Conservative representative for the Summerfield and All Saints ward, Cllr Brenda Rigby, has changed her registered address to Alston in Cumbria.

Alston, the highest market town in England, is just over 189 miles – or at least a three-and-a-half hour drive – from Burntwood Town Council’s offices at the Old Mining College Centre on Queen Street.

Residents are also unable to contact their elected representative directly either after Cllr Rigby’s registered phone number and email address were changed to that of the council.

Cllr Diane Evans, leader of the Labour opposition group, has called on Cllr Rigby to do “the decent thing” and stand down.

“I find it absolutely ridiculous and unfair to constituents, that Mrs Rigby can continue to represent her ward when she has moved so far away,” Cllr Evans said.

“The decent thing she should have done is resign in order that somebody else can be given the opportunity to do a proper job in Summerfield and All Saints Ward.”

Although Cllr Rigby has not broken any rules by moving so far from her ward, Cllr Evans said her decision not to step down had raised a number of issues.

“It is all very well for her to turn up for meetings once every six months in order to qualify to remain as a councillor, but being an effective councillor is much more than that,” she said. “Ward work is an integral part and not being available to do that is a disgrace.

“Her contributions towards anything in Burntwood is probably nil and to have any issues, including emails, directed to her via the officers of Burntwood Town Council, is clearly not the correct way to conduct herself, as she obviously cannot correspond with residents as she should, besides being an abuse of officers’ time.

“Often problems we take up are confidential and so should not go through a third party. I am sure that if her residents were aware of the situation, they would not be prepared to accept the situation, as she is unable to adequately fulfil the role she was elected to do.”

Burntwood Town Council and Cllr Rigby have been approached for comment.

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