A parish council near Manchester is in limbo after all its councillors resigned this week (7 October), blaming their decision on abusive phone calls and hate mail.
A statement on the Carrington Parish Council website from the former councillors said: “It was a difficult decision for all councillors to make, however over the last few months council members have been subject to anonymous phone calls, abusive phone calls, homes being watched, personal details being shared and disgusting hate mail.
“These incidents have been reported to the police and are being monitored. The levels of vitriol that have been aimed at the council have caused an untold amount of stress and anxiety on all our members. Unfortunately it has reached the point that all the councillors feel their positions are no longer tenable.”
All responsibilities will now be held with Trafford Council.
The statement, which can be viewed here, added: “Councillors are volunteers; we gave our time and effort to try and better our community as best as we could. Up until a few months ago there were only four councillors, and this had been the case for a number of years. With little support except what was given by local businesses such as Carrington Business Park, the council kept going so it would not be amalgamated into another parish council. Great steps were taken to build working relationships with Trafford, Himor, Partington Parish Council and many others.
“It was hard work, and recently made no easier by the actions of people who believe that acts of intimidation and abuse are the way to implement change. No one should be subject to any form of hate campaign for trying to do their best. Like everyone else, councillors are people who have families and loved ones.
“Whilst this abuse was aimed at the councillors, the effect of these actions goes much further. For those in the community who knew of our recent problems and supported us, we are sorry that the situation came to this conclusion. Your kind words and support have been invaluable through this difficult time.”
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: ““For the avoidance of any doubt, the public body which is the Parish Council has not been dissolved - it just has no sitting councillors at present. The task ahead is to secure the appointments of councillors to the Parish Council in order for it to be able to function once again.
“We fully support the principle of the residents of Carrington having access to local democracy through the Parish Council. However, the options available to us to support the Parish Council are very limited.
“We are exploring the possibility of making interim appointments to the Parish Council until an election can be held and permanent appointments are secured following that election."
The spokesman added: "Interim appointments will ensure that the Parish Council is able to function and Carrington residents will then be able to vote on candidates for the Parish Council, when the next elections are held.
“We recognise that feelings have been running high recently but we would ask everyone to allow discussions over the future of the Parish Council to take place in a positive manner.
“We will continue to communicate with residents and will provide further details when we are able to confirm any additional information.”