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Call for Lichfield councillor to let voters decide on his future after Friary Grange Leisure Centre row

A former Green Party council candidate has called for a Lichfield councillor to stand down after he became embroiled in a row over the future of Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

Jamie Checkland
Jamie Checkland

Cllr Jamie Checkland resigned from his role of chair of governors at The Friary School after apologising breaching Lichfield District Council’s code of conduct over a conflict of interest during a debate on the proposals to close the city’s last leisure centre.

He had previously been criticised for telling a public meeting that his priority was to the students of the school.

The Conservative councillor said his decision to step down as a governor would “enable the school to continue to focus on the well-being and learning of the students”.

But Simon Partridge, who stood for the Green Party in the St John’s ward at the local elections in May, said he should also resign from the council to allow voters to decide whether Cllr Checkland’s loyalties were with residents or the school.

“His resignation as head of governors does nothing to resolve the conflict of interests,” Mr Partridge said.

“He’s now free to debate and vote on the future of Friary Grange in Lichfield District Council meetings despite having publicly stated that his priority is the pupils of The Friary School.

“He should resign as a councillor too and let the voters of Leomansley decide who would best serve their interests.

“I’ve no doubt an independent ‘Save Friary Grange’ candidate would do very well in a by-election.”

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  1. Glyn

    22nd July, 2019 at 9:45 am

    As a constituent who voted for Mr Checkland, I completely agree. I didn’t vote for him to have The Friary school as his number one priority, I voted for him to represent and priorities of the community I live in, and the community he claims to prioritise. By his own admission, this is simply not the case. He lied in his election campaign.

  2. AnnS

    22nd July, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Hear! Hear! He can’t possibly be objective in any discussions, and it’s on record that his election campaign was all about working for and supporting the interests of the school.

  3. Karl

    22nd July, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Nice to know Checkland’s salary/expenses for being a councillor was used to purely promote the Friary School. How is this democracy?? This council has some MAJOR problems. There should be an immediate by-election. I didn’t vote for this.

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