October 24 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Friday, April 11, 2014
Council leader Alan Melton insisted today his decision to quit was made some time ago – and said he hinted as much at a recent council meeting.
The long standing councillor for Chatteris Birch said that if colleagues been attentive they would have heard his concluding remarks at last month’s council meeting which indicated it was to be his last.
“I think most if not all missed what I said,” he said. “I said at the end that ‘I wish to thank you all- hope you’ve enjoyed it, now it’s over to you’”
Cllr Melton revealed that he had told his wife in advance of the council meeting it would be his last as leader and he felt now was the time to leave.
With the core strategy for Fenland approved it was “the final bit of the jig saw” for moving Fenland in the right direction.
“I believe I have a brilliant record of achievement as leader and now is the time for someone else to take that on,” he said.
Cllr Melton added to this remarks in an email sent to Conservative colleagues earlier in which he confirmed that three years ago when he was re-elected as a ward member for Chatteris Birch it would be his last term as a councillor.
“I have after all contested 13 elections and won every one” he wrote. “I am currently Fenland Council’s longest serving member”.
Cllr Melton added: “Over the last year I have thought very hard about that decision and thus far I see no reason to change my mind.”
He said he had agreed with chief whip Mike Cornwell that the new leader would be elected on May 1 ahead of the annual meeting of the council on May 8.
Until then he would continue as leading, chairing a cabinet meeting on April 24 and jointly chairing the Wisbech 2020 summit on May 2.
“I have enjoyed my 33 years serving the people of Fenland, Chatteris and Cambridgeshire,” he said. “I am very proud of my record as a member and leader for two very momentous terms. The adoption of the core strategy, which will be the benchmark for the development of Fenland until 2031, is the appropriate time for new leadership, new energy and new enthusiasm.
“This statement marks my effective retirement from Fenland local politics. I shall of course given an undertaking that I shall be loyal and supportive to whoever is elected as leader.
“I shall be making no further statement at this stage.”
Earlier this year Cllr Melton a no confidence motion fizzled but in recent days a second bid to unseat him had gathered momentum. Councillors across Fenland had been approached to sign a no confidence motion and had been confident of gaining sufficient numbers to force a vote at the next group meeting.
Cllr Melton would not comment as to whether that planned vote had influenced or advanced his decision to stand down now.