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Minehead town councillors quit over ferry row
TWO Minehead town councillors have resigned after a proposed bid for a grant to part-fund a feasability study into a ferry link to South Wales failed to gain the council's backing.
John Clyde-Smith and Steve Pickard blame divisions in the council for the rejection of the plans and for their subsequent resignation.
The £35,000 study was expected to be paid for using a £15,000 Local Action for Rural Communities (LARC) grant if a bid was successful, £15,000 from the Vale of Glamorgan Council and £5,000 from private funding or the town council, if that failed.
At a full town council meeting last Wednesday (June 6), councillors Bridle, Grierson, McGee, Smith, Thomas and Welch voted against the submission of a bid for a LARC grant to be made on behalf of the council, while councillors Clyde-Smith, Kravis and Pickard voted for it.
Arguments against the ferry from councillors and members of the public include increased traffic along the quay, financial concerns and previous failed studies into similar proposals.
Mr Clyde-Smith said: “We may have lost the battle but we haven't lost the war. Following my resignation, I will now direct my full attention to giving the ferry a fair chance with or without their blessing.”
Mr Pickard said: “The feasability study would give everyone a chance to see if it would be viable and for the public to have their views on the project. Where is the democracy with Minehead Town Council rejecting this?”
Tony Berry, Mayor of Minehead, spoke of the need for councillors working together in his acceptance of the position just over four weeks ago.
He said: “I am really disappointed that the councillors felt they had to resign because the council didn't go along with their wishes. It was a democratic decision.
“I hoped we would have resolved it before this happened - I don't like to lose councillors in this way.”
District councillor Richard Lillis, part of the informal group which presented the ferry proposals, said following a conversation with LARC, the bid is still alive.