Grass-cutting row leads to councillor resignation
ARGUMENTS over grass-cutting in a Cheltenham suburb has led to a councillor quitting his position.
Roger Whyborn resigned from Up Hatherley parish council yesterday after having a request for a matter to be discussed dismissed by the chairman, Stuart Fowler.
Mr Whyborn, who will continue to represent the ward on Cheltenham Borough Council, said the string of emails over the grass-cutting, which were leaked to the Echo, was the "straw that broke the camel's back".
He said: "My resignation is basically down to time commitments. You can only get so much done in the best run parish council and, as a borough councillor, cabinet member and the chairman of St Margaret's Hall, I don't feel I have the time to input to the parish council."
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Mr Whyborn, 60, emailed the parish council requesting a debate on the mowing of Long Mynd Avenue following a resident's complaint the green had mown grass strewn over it, adding to her hay fever.
She wanted the cuttings to be picked up.
In response, parish council chairman, Stuart Fowler, said in the email: "I have now had a look for myself, and I am afraid she is talking nonsense.
"The simple point is that those residents living in that corner would like us to maintain an ornamental green, which we have never done. We have followed normal practice in the town."
Mr Whyborn then requested her complaint was "treated seriously, and with respect".
Mr Fowler emailed back stating: "Of course this matter has been treated seriously, but correspondence is for exactly that. If she wishes to write to the parish council, she will receive a written reply.
"We haven't got time to waste on a debate on such a trivial matter and neither have other members time to walk the ground."
Mr Fowler went on to offer the chance for it to be raised orally at the meeting, which Mr Whyborn was unable to attend because of a clash of meetings.
The email exchange ended with Mr Whyborn stating: "I think it's time we parted company. Enough is enough."
He wrote to the council yesterday, handing in his resignation with immediate effect.
Mr Whyborn added: "The emails were the straw that broke the camel's back, but my resignation was about getting more than an answer.
"All I wanted to do is get a sensible and considerate answer from the parish council. I wanted a more reasoned and balanced answer than I got."
Mr Fowler said he did not wish to comment.