What’s going on at Holt Town Council?

Holt town sign. Photo: Colin finch

Holt town sign. Photo: Colin finch - Credit: Colin Finch

Holt town council has seen a mass departure this year after four councillors, making up almost a third of the cabinet, have resigned in 2017.

Former deputy mayor Michael Hill, Roger Percival, John Allison and Graham Chapman have all resigned from the council in a matter of months.

In a letter to the Holt Chronicle published on September 8, Mr Chapman wrote: 'Unfortunately I found myself at variance with directives and policies being implemented by the council, and considered they were not necessarily in the best interests of the town.'

Mr Chapam writes that he was particularly at odds with the 25% increase in rates which was planned ahead of the council's budget meeting in January.

Replacements for the first three councillors who left in January and February of 2017 were co-opted, with Mr Chapman's vacancy to be filled with a candidate selected by election.

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The on-going battle for a car park in Holt may also be one of the issues which divided the former cabinet.

Mr Chapman is the landowner of Thornage Road in Holt, one of two sites in the town which have been embroiled in a battle to bring more car parking spaces to the area.

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The fight to bring the 385-space car park has been taking place for nearly a decade, after planning permission was granted for the scheme in 2009, but was stalled over financial negotiations.

In March last year both Mr Hill and Mr Percival expressed their anger at the District Council's decision to build a smaller car park in Cley Road, but not the larger Thornage Lane site, saying it was only a short-term solution.

Mr Hill, who resigned before the end of his term, had told the North Norfolk News: 'I'm appalled and lost for words. The whole of Cley Road is going to be double yellow lines which I think is going to be horrendous.'

Mr Percival added: 'The number of people who don't come to Holt because they can't park here… it's very critical for the future of Holt.'

When the news of the departures of the latter were announced at a town council meeting on February 6, former mayor Duncan Baker made no apology for taking a 'strong grip' on the Cley Road parking project.

The Holt Council are now holding an election to replace Mr Chapman, with Mr Allison attempting to make a return to council having being nominated to run in the election, alongside Paul Doy, and Paul Rix.

The election will take place on October 26.

The Holt Town Council and the former councillors have been approached for comment.

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