Stand-off over stand-down

Date: Tuesday 28th November 2017

GIVEN that the town waited more than 40 years for the return of its own authority, it is disappointing that Penrith Town Council has been hit by a surfeit of resignations in recent months.

Four councillors have stood down since June, making a total of six this year. There is no one cause for this, with different councillors citing different reasons for their resignations, but it nevertheless suggests that matters are not running as smoothly as council tax payers, who are footing the bill, might have expected.

The latest to quit is Lee Quinn, who, ironically, campaigned strongly for the setting up of the town council after a referendum of residents voted in favour almost three years ago.

Mr. Quinn, who was co-opted on to the council as it struggled to fill vacancies, says that in a short time he realised “this was not what the people voted for”.

Those closely involved with the town council unsurprisingly disagree with that sentiment, and there can be no dispute that, since its inception, the authority has helped restore a feeling of pride in Penrith through its workings with other organisations which share the aim of promoting the town in both economic and cultural terms.

One thing on which Mr. Quinn and his former colleagues appear to agree, however, is a lack of engagement with the community.

It is vital that the council gets its message across to residents, not least because they might then be encouraged to become councillors — helping to solve a problem that afflicts not just Penrith but other communities across Eden.