Councillors face 'unnecessary stress and criticism'

Results of survey reflect widespread opposition to the land trust development,

Results of survey reflect widespread opposition to the land trust development, although the parish council who commissioned the survey, rejected the results. Now a parish poll is under way but Cllr Dan Schumann (right) feels parish councillors are being treated unfairly. - Credit: John Elworthy

County councillor Daniel Schumann believes those who successfully fought to hold a public vote of confidence in a parish council are putting existing councillors under “unnecessary stress”. 

The vote is on Thursday and asks the straightforward question about Wilburton parish council. 

It asks: “do you have confidence that the current parish council acts in a way that is democratic, accountable and transparent? Yes or No’ 

Cllr Schumann says: “It is a great shame that matters in Wilburton have come to a head in this way.  

“I see parish councillors as the very bedrock of our communities. 

“They work tirelessly for their residents on a totally voluntary basis; and Wilburton parish council is no exception.” 

He said their duties ranged from running the village hall to looking after the cemetery and “parish councillors keep our communities going”.  

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Cllr Schumann added: “I firmly believe that, although accountability is clearly important, on the whole parish councillors should be praised and supported for their huge contribution; not put through unnecessary stress and criticism.  

“I have not been county councillor for Wilburton for long, but I have already experienced how the current parish council work collaboratively with their district and county colleagues for the good of the village, and how passionate they are about improving village life.  

“I very much hope that this experience will not cause Wilburton to lose good councillors and a good council.” 

The parish council, although with places for nine councillors, currently has less than half that.  

A simmering issue in the village has been a controversial housing proposal backed by local councils and involving a community land trust project.  

Until recently the parish council had five councillors, of whom three are trustees of the community land trust.  

Last year the parish council rejected the results of a survey they commissioned when results showed a majority of villagers opposed to the housing scheme.  

When the parish poll was called last month, one councillor resigned on the spot and walked out of the annual meeting. 

Voting is from 4pm to 9pm on June 10 in St Peters Hall, High Street. 

All those on the electoral roll are eligible to vote.  

The returning officer is John Hill, chief executive of East Cambridgeshire District Council.