Traumatic week for town council as mayor and new member resign

Date: Friday 24th June 2011

KESWICK Town Council suffered a double blow this week with the resignations of the mayor, David Robinson, for health reasons, and the decision of the newest member, Helen Winter, to quit less than 24 hours after she had signed the declaration of office.

Mr. Robinson’s resignation from both Keswick Town Council and as one of the three representatives on Allerdale Borough Council was announced on Wednesday.

Only last month he stood unsuccessfully as a candidate in the Keswick and Derwent ward in the Cumbria County Council elections.

He said: “For some time now I have been suffering from stress that has recently made me quite unwell. I am not in a state of mind that will allow me to carry out my duties representing Keswick on the town or borough councils and as mayor of Keswick.

“It is with regret that I have decided the best course of action for me and the town is that I resign from both councils with immediate effect. This will allow me to sort myself out, whilst allowing someone else to fulfil the roles of mayor and councillor.”

Mr. Robinson added: “I would like to thank the people of Keswick for their support and apologise for having to let them down.”

Meanwhile, Helen Winter, a leading figure in the recent protests over the franchising of games and catering and development plans for Hope Park, resigned on Friday, the morning after she had been co-opted as the 12th member of the town council.

Mrs. Winter, who runs the Hazeldene Hotel at The Heads with husband Howard, cited “personal reasons” for her decision.

The council had opened up the vacancy for co-option when it received just 11 nominations for 12 seats at the May elections at a time when several long serving councillors stepped down.

The two candidates for co-option, Helen Winter and Tony Lywood, were asked to make written submissions and attended last week’s town council meeting, at which members decided to elect Mrs. Winter.

Councillors also automatically serve as charitable trustees with responsibility for managing the town’s Hope and Fitz parks and both Mrs. Winter and her husband have been involved in the controversy over the trust’s decision to put the games and catering out to franchise.

Town clerk Lynda Walker said: “Mrs. Winter came in on Friday and said she wished to offer her resignation. Under the regulations we now have to declare a casual vacancy.”

The town council is now in a more difficult position than it was after the May elections because, whereas then it was one member short, it will now have to try and fill two vacancies.

Until the town council meets again it is likely that the current deputy mayor, Andrew Lysser, who was mayor just two years ago, will take on any civic duties.