A COUNCILLOR for Taunton Deane has resigned his seat stating 'work commitments' as the reason. 

Cllr Steve Ross, who was elected to represent the Wiveliscombe and West Deane ward, has decided to leave his position as member of the council. 

Mr Ross, who works in solar PV development in the UK, said that opportunities had arisen that would see him working on managing health, safety and environment on solar projects in other parts of the world.

He added it would make it "impossible" to give the community the commitment the role of councillor demands.

Somerset County Gazette: ElectionsModule Candidate photo

He said in a message to the other Deane councillors: "I am sad to have to resign as a TDBC Councillor. I would have liked to have represented the community for longer but my work commitments mean I cannot do so.

"A by-election will provide a timely opportunity for people to consider a range of issues about Conservative governance at and beyond the Deane.

"I hope the community will send a clear message about supporting vulnerable people and essential rural services like libraries, buses and Wivey Link, as well as emphasising the need for a properly funded local government service at borough level.

"I will always cherish my time representing Wiveliscombe and West Deane and acting as a TDBC Councillor, including representing the Deane on the Somerset Waste Board, a position I appreciate John Williams entrusting me with."

The former councillor says he took inspiration from friends and family, as well as past and present members who demostarted "ethics, dignity and thoughtfulness". 

"I will long remember the commitment and work of officers and councillors, past and present," He added. 

"Of the full councils and meetings, I will remember the passion, pride and personalities, the consideration I have received from members, officers, the community and the friends I have made.

"My thanks go to all those who helped me work as a councillor. I have valued the support of the people in Wiveliscombe and West Deane, the support of Eddie Gaines, others too numerous to mention and most importantly the patience and love of my amazing family.

"I will especially remember the ethics, dignity and thoughtfulness I saw in officers like Craig Morse and councillors like Bruce Nottrodt. For me their memory stands far above any councillor conduct that demonstrates bias and is not sensitive to the contributions of everyone in our diverse community, as evidenced in January's exchanges on same sex marriage.

"As councillors, our right to free speech comes with the legal obligation of objectivity under the principles of public life and that the right to defend the free speech comes with the obligation to challenge anyone using our platform in a way which ignores their duty to act with objectivity."

Mr Ross says he enjoyed many highlights during his time as councillor since 2011. 

"I have been really proud to be a Deane and Wiveliscombe Town Councillor," He said. 

"I have lots of good memories and many highlights in what seems to have been a constant battle against austerity and cuts since I was elected.

"I became a councillor after the first libraries campaign, have since helped in the fights for the Brewhouse, Children’s Centres and supported local voluntary sector organisations as county and district councils pass the burden of more services onto them while giving them less money.

That those battles need to now be fought again sadly reflects the Conservatives inability to govern Somerset in the interests of the whole community and the failure of the county and district Conservatives to make a stronger case to national government for proper funding for better services."

Mr Ross' life as a councillor saw him voice opinions on Somerset's waste services as part of the Waste Board.

He added: "I enjoyed being part of different organisations, like the Deane's Constitutional Sub Committee, the Somerset Waste Board and the Wiveliscombe Area Partnership.

"Highlights are many and include seeing the success of the recycle more trials in Wiveliscombe, that Wiveliscombe Primary School will this year, after many years trying, get a safer crossing and being asked to stand in and give prizes out at the Wivey Flower Show in 2012 after the original guest of honour, John Lloyd could not attend due to illness.

"I knew John from when he used to swim at Wivey Pool so being his understudy was a great honour for me. Giving the prizes out reminded me of the wide range of talents in the 10 Parishes, young and old.

"I would have liked to have served longer on the council and achieved much more but that is impossible for me at this point.

"My thanks go out to everyone who has supported and helped me over the years, especially my family, whose patience and love has been amazing."