Dwindling council further reduced as Peter Harries quits
HUNGERFORD'S newly-appointed town mayor has appealed to the residents to help serve their community on a dwindling council. Martin Crane said: “This is a great opportunity for people to give a few hours each month to build their local community in a positive manner.” During the elections, only seven councillors came forward for 15 seats. The problem was compounded this week with the sudden resignation of former town mayor Peter Harries. Now a meeting has been announced at which members of the public are being encouraged to put themselves forward as co-opted councillors. Mr Crane added: ““We're particularly looking for those with vision and a good knowledge of local business and social activities. Though it remains an attractive option for those with extensive experience who have retired, the younger generation are encouraged to consider how they could play an ever increasing role in the future of Hungerford and at the same time broaden their experience and strengthen their CVs (curriculum vitaes) as a councillor.” He paid tribute to outgoing mayor Anthony Buckwell for his hard work and also paid tribute to Mr Harries, saying: “Peter was always a very elegant figure as mayor and has served Hungerford well. Although he has said it's time for a change for him he has offered to help us out where he can.” Those councillors who did not stand for re-election this year are Elizabeth Cardwell, David Ravenhill, Mr Buckwell, Gwynneth Bullock and Jenny Booth. The current crop of councillors are Dennis Benneyworth, Mr Crane, Jean Hutchings, David Liddiard, Rupert Thompson and Margaret Wilson. Mr Harries had been involved in a bitter wrangle over bullying claims. In November last year the Government's tribunal service overturned a ruling in May 2010 by West Berkshire Council's Standards Committee that Mr Harries had broken the councillors' code of conduct by showing intimidating behaviour towards the then town clerk, Jennie Collins. Mr Harries declined to give reasons for his resignation. On 7pm on May 23 there will be an extraordinary meeting in the council chambers to co-opt six councillors. Anyone interested will be invited to speak for five minutes on why they wish to serve. Those interested asked to contact the town clerk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.