Interim parish council takes office after mass resignations

Roger Atterwill, Mark Kiddle-Morris and Robert Hambidge in Weasenham

Left to right: district councillors Roger Atterwill, Mark Kiddle-Morris and Robert Hambidge have been appointed to form a temporary parish council in Weasenham. - Credit: Ian Burt/Breckland Council/Norfolk Conservatives

A Norfolk parish council has a new temporary team in place, following the resignation last month of all its members

Three members of Breckland Council - independent Roger Atterwill and Conservatives Mark Kiddle-Morris and Robert Hambidge - have been appointed by the district authority to form a new temporary parish council in Weasenham. 

Located on the A1065 between Fakenham and Swaffham, the parish’s six previous councillors resigned on May 19.

The council had been taken to a standards board over a number of allegations from a single complainant, over which it was eventually cleared.

Weasenham village sign

Weasenham is located between Fakenham and Swaffham. In May, its entire parish council resigned. - Credit: Ian Burt

The parish authority’s former chair, Anna Coke, said the allegations included fraud, and said that despite the claims being dismissed by the board, they had played “havoc” with the members’ health. 

“... In the case of alleged fraud, almost a year of waiting left us unable to proceed with expenditure until cleared,” she said earlier this month.

“The toll on my health and that of others is palpable… It is sad, but enough is enough.” 

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The council’s new temporary chair, Mr Atterwill, said: “This is a job which I never asked for or expected but I will work hard for the benefit of Weasenham residents during my time here.

Breckland councillor and Swanton Morley Parish Council chairman, Roger Atterwill, is concerned about

Independent district councillor Roger Atterwill has bene appointed as the new interim chair of Weasenham Parish Council - Credit: Breckland District Council

“I am also the Chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council, a role I have had for 16 years, so I think I bring with me a lot of experience to help Weasenham.

“Our first meeting was very well attended by residents, and we have listened carefully to their concerns.

“It is clear to us that there is a lot of work required to rebuild trust, confidence and community relations.

“To help me and my colleagues we are receiving excellent support from Breckland Council officers and Norfolk Parish Training & Support.”

A Breckland Council spokesperson said that because no requests were made by residents for an election to be held to fill the council’s seven vacancies, those vacancies will instead be filled by co-option. 

Four of the vacancies must be filled by residents of Weasenham All Saints and three from Weasenham St Peter. 

Anyone interested in putting themselves forward to join the new parish council can contact Mr Atterwill on 07841 488860 or email him at roger.atterwill@breckland.gov.uk