Long distance councillor finally comes to the end of the road
21st February 2019
A PARK ward councillor who lives 160 miles away in Holt, North Norfolk, has confirmed he is to quit the council following repeated calls from angry residents telling him to step down.
Cllr Peter Bulman has previously refused to resign from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, despite the fact that he lives more than three hours away.
The Park ward representative, who was elected in 2016, has only attended two council meetings in the last 12 months, yet despite this, he has still pocketed his £5,500-a-year allowance.
One of his ward constituents, who did not wish to be named, has had it confirmed by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] that Mr Bulman has finally called it a day and will stand down in May, despite his seat not being up for election.
The resident, said: “He is a zombie Councillor. He cannot represent us because he lives 160 miles away. He has only been to two of the six council meetings he was meant to attend last year. It is right he should go.”
In a letter from TWBC, seen by the Times, an official at the council said: “It is correct that, since February 2018, he [Cllr Bulman] has only attended meetings of the full Council and has not attended any of his other committees: Audit and Governance, Licensing and General Purposes.
“However, Cllr Bulman is not in breach of the legal requirement, which is that within a six month period he must attend at least one official council meeting (of either full Council or any committee).”
The letter continued: “He [Cllr Bulman] has written to the Chief Executive to confirm that he wishes to resign from his position as councillor, with effect from the May 2019 elections.”
Speaking to the Times, Cllr Bulman said: “It is not true that I have been unable to represent people in my ward. I am still very active in the ward. I have always maintained that I never would never serve a full term of office.”
The news will come as a relief to fellow Conservative councillors, who have previously asked him to step aside.
Council Leader David Jukes previously urged his Tory colleague to quit.
He said last year: “He is not giving the people he represents the sort of attention they deserve.
“I would say to him, move on before the elections in May. A by-election can cost £5,000 to hold.”