It’s been a tricky week for our councils – with big name resignations for the district and criticisms over the handling of a major service at county level.
On Tuesday, Janet Blake – cabinet member for commercialisation and business transformation stepped down from her cabinet role – after the failure of the Vale Broadband project – and a Herald investigation which revealed she had voted on planning applications for a developer she had a financial interest in.
Mrs Blake said she was stepping down in the wider interests of the council – after a ‘relentless and personal campaign’ and that she did not feel that her resignation should be connected to her work.
On Thursday her husband, leader of the council Neil Blake, followed suit, resigning from his role ahead of a lively meeting to discuss what went wrong for the ambitious broadband project, that both he and Mrs Blake were one-time board members of.
Mr Blake is set to be replaced by Marsh Gibbon councillor, cabinet member for communities and deputy leader Angela Macpherson – after a vote by Conservative group members.
And Bucks County Council has also felt the heat this week. The authority’s children’s services portfolio holder Warren Whyte was forced to defend spending taxpayers’ money on a third public consultation on children’s centres.
The move comes after two in-house consultations failed to reach an outcome which was satisfactory for both the council and campaigners who are opposed to any children’s centres being closed in a re-organisation of the beleaguered service.
One campaigner said she feels the council cannot trust itself to get things right – but welcomed the opportunity to have another say in a bid to save the centres.