Councillor who suddenly quit Fenland village may have gone to live abroad say villagers

PUBLISHED: 15:41 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 June 2010

Alder Lodge home of Cllr David Markinson

Alder Lodge home of Cllr David Markinson

By John Elworthy MYSTERY tonight surrounds the whereabouts of a prominent anti wind farm campaigner and local councillor who has sold his Fenland home to move abroad. Councillor David Markinson has sold his £500,000 home at Rands Drove, Marshland St Jam

cllr david markinson

By John Elworthy

MYSTERY tonight surrounds the whereabouts of a prominent anti wind farm campaigner and local councillor who has sold his Fenland home to move abroad.

Councillor David Markinson has sold his £500,000 home at Rands Drove, Marshland St James, and is believed to have moved abroad. One resident said he believed Cllr Markinson had moved to Spain but another said he understood the councillor had moved to France.

Cllr Markinson won the Marshland seat on West Norfolk in 2007 as an independent after being firmly identified with the anti wind turbine group, FLAT. He unseated Labour's Jack Bantoft who had held the seat for nearly two decades.

Cllr Markinson was also a member of Marshland St James Parish Council, having won the seat in a by election in February when he pipped three candidates and was elected with 97 votes.

However villagers now wonder if Cllr Markinson will return to the area, although he can be absent for up to six months from the borough council without incurring any penalty.

No one at the Kings Lynn offices of West Norfolk Council was available for comment today but a notice posted on their website says any correspondence to Cllr Markinson should now be sent to them.

One villager said today that Cllr Markinson moved out of his Alder Lodge home on December 9 and new occupants moved in the following day.

The four bedroom house, completed with outbuildings, orchards and an equestrian centre, has been for sale for some time. Cllr Markinson is thought to have bought the house in 2001 for £250,000.

When Cllr Markinson first marketed the property it had an agricultural usage restriction which he finally succeeded in removing in October 2007 following a successful application to West Norfolk Council.

Cllr Bantoft, a member and former chairman of the parish council, said people knew the house was for sale but neither he nor any other parish councillor knew where Cllr Markinson had moved to.

On Monday the issue will be debated at Marshland St James Parish Council when the clerk will report back on a recent complaint against Cllr Markinson.

Under the parish council's standing orders, all parish councillors have to agree to agree to a Criminal Record Bureau check, a procedure brought in to ensure councillors could safely visit local schools.

When Cllr Markinson refused to agree to a CRB check, the parish council complained to the standards committee of West Norfolk Council.

The council's monitoring officer, Nicola Leader, is due to give a response to parish councillors on Monday and it is thought she had suggested negotiating with Cllr Markinson to get him to sign.

All attempts to contact Cllr Markinson today proved unsuccessful.

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