Chard by-election – Greens stand aside
A by-election is being held for Chard Town Council in Combe Ward. This follows the resignation of Green Party Councillor, Jason Hawkes, who is moving away from the area.
We have reported frequently of late on the disquiet at Chard Town Council. Staff turnover in recent years has been significant and shows no sign of abating. Despite constant complaints of bullying, nothing is resolved. Monitoring Officers, tasked with investigating complaints are not prepared to:
a) publish the reports into their findings (although they appear to end up in the hands of councillors from the administration)
b) draw any connection to the number and variety of complaints
c) ask searching questions into why their are so many complaints from so many differing sources
Against this background the by-election for Combe Ward could not have come at a worse time. Ordinarily the Green Party would have expected to do well. However an Independent candidate. Craig Hussey has come forward. As some at least of the bad behaviour has been put down to politics, this may be helpful. Having more Independents on the Town Council may help diffuse the atmosphere and lead to a more constructive dialogue. Which would be for the good of the town as a whole.
Unusually, the Green Party have decided to stand down their own candidate. The hope being that more people will get behind Mr Hussey. In a statement shared with The Leveller, Green Party Councillor, Tim Eggins explains:
“The Green Party has stood candidates in Combe Ward for the local elections in 2015, 2019 and 2022 with Serena Wootton and then Jason Hawkes securing seats with an ever-growing voting percentage. Green Party Chard would like to thank you for the support, faith and trust that you have shown by allowing us to represent you on Chard Town Council. The by-election being held in Combe Ward in July, is being held with the backdrop of bullying and shameful misconduct by a few Liberal Democrat Councillors who still hold the majority on Chard Town Council.
Their National Party appears not only to allow this behaviour, but to even support it with Councillors from outside of Chard stating that the claims and accusations are politically motivated, rather than doing anything about it. The Green Party will always put “people before party”, so for this reason, Green Party Chard has made the very difficult decision to stand aside in the upcoming by-election. This will give an independent candidate the best chance of winning this seat and continue on the journey to bring much-needed balance to the Council, as an increased majority can only be detrimental to the community. We will be contacting our supporters to explain this decision in full and to apologise to them that they will not, on this occasion, be able to vote Green.”