September 17 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Former county council leader Martin Curtis told Whittlesey Tories last night he would not be seeking re-election to Fenland District Council next year.
“It is clear that I cannot work full time and serve my town in the same way I have in the past - something has to give,” he said today.
Cllr Curtis represents the Kingsmoor ward on the district council and was unopposed at the 2011 election.
In his time at Fenland Hall he has been chairman of the planning committee until 2010 when a new leader, Alan Melton, replaced him. Cllr Curtis later became vice chairman of planning, stood aside during the controversial ‘supermarket gate’ period and never returned. He was asked, in 2012, by Cllr Melton to resign, refused and was sacked.
“My sacking baffled me and others,” he wrote on his blog at the time.
“Cllr Melton invited me resign to prevent the indignity of being sacked. I asked for the reason for this and I was told it was because of ‘community perception’. I challenged and suggested that I had not seen or heard any issues in respect of this.”
He said that “having consulted a few people, I chose to decline the request.”
Cllr Curtis remains a Cambridgeshire county councillor for Whittlesey North, winning the leadership after the 2013 elections but resigning earlier this year as the cabinet system was replaced with a committee structure at Shire Hall.
He said he took the role “promising not to become embroiled in petty politics and to do the best for the people of Cambridgeshire.”
But he said with the change to the new committee system in May he felt “the evidence of the last year and, especially of recent months, suggests that the council will become embroiled in petty politics at the expense of the huge strategic issues the council is succeeding with”
He also expressed his fears that new structure “could lose focus on protecting vulnerable Cambridgeshire residents from harm”.
Cllr Curtis said his decision to quit after the annual meeting of the council in May “has been the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
Since standing down as county leader Cllr Curtis has been appointed to a directorship at Curtin & Co, the public affairs consultancy.
Cllr Curtis said today: “When I took up my new job in May I said I would give that my total focus for three months and then see where I was at- something that was right for my employer, but which also gave me a period to reflect about the extent of my council commitments.
“At the forefront of my thinking has always been Whittlesey - the one thing I will never do is let Whittlesey down.”
He said was “proud of my record at Fenland District Council and especially the way I have stood up for Whittlesey residents and I can guarantee that this does not mean I won’t make my voice heard there - I most certainly will, but it will be in a different way.”