Council hits out about attendance

Cllr Barry Lewis.
Cllr Barry Lewis.

A councillor has hit back after complaints about his attendance record at parish council meetings.

Shirland and Higham Parish Council said members were “dissatisfied” with their county Councillor Barry Lewis for not attending a single meeting of the authority in the last nine months.

Conservative Cllr Lewis said his relationship with the council had “declined” because of a row over a planning issue.

Niall Johnson, clerk of the authority, said: “Since September 2011 Cllr Lewis has attended only eight meetings of this council and none for the last nine months. Apologies are rarely received and few reports of county council matters are made to us. This complaint is in no way political - it is born simply out of frustration at the denigration of the democratic process.”

Cllr Lewis said: “Relations with the authority took a turn for the worst earlier last year after I expressed my dissatisfaction with the way they handled a local planning matter.

“I look forward to hearing from the council to see if we can put these matters behind us so that I can go back to attending their meetings with the air cleared.” Cllr Lewis added that his father passed away in October after being ill for much of last year. “This hardly encouraged me to step into the lion’s den,” he said.