The leader of Lichfield District Council says he is extremely disappointed by a Conservative councillor’s decision to resign – but insisted that councillors needed to “rise above self interest”.
Cllr Joanne Grange will step down from her role in the Stowe ward after criticism over the local authority’s handling of a planning decision, warning that it had given the green light for future inappropriate developments.
She said she could not continue in her role – which she only took up in February – as she no longer felt confident in the council’s ability to represent the best interests of its residents.
Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said he would take Cllr Grange’s points about the planning process on board, but insisted councillors needed to balance their own views with those of the broader council.
“I am extremely disappointed by Joanne’s decision to resign as a District councillor and sorry that she felt unable either to speak directly to myself or another colleague to see if the issues raised could have been dealt with before deciding to resign,” he said. “I will however ensure that the issues raised around the planning policies and processes are considered as a matter of urgency.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank her for her contribution in the relatively short time she has been on the council.
“I also believe that being a councillor gives you the opportunity to contribute along with colleagues in challenging and debating those areas where you think this is required, rather than stepping away and trying to influence from outside of the council.
“Sometimes as councillors we have to rise above our self interest and accept that we will not always win the particular argument, but what we do is to continue in our role.”
In a resignation letter to Cllr Wilcox, Cllr Grange said she could not continue to serve on the council while also joining residents in further action regarding the planning decision.
“I have enjoyed my short time as a councillor,” she said. “But my faith in Lichfield District Council as a democratic organisation that wants to do the best for its residents has been completely destroyed by this decision, and I am not prepared to compromise my own principles and to be associated with it.”