Councillor forced to quit after moving house

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A PARISH councillor has been forced to quit after a house move put her in breach of regulations.

Tara Saville was elected to Sherburn Village Parish Council when she was living in Gilesgate. Durham City, but she has since moved to Seaham.

The rules state a parish councillor must either live or work in the parish, or live not more than three miles away.

The matter was raised by Sherburn resident Adam Foster, who made a written complaint to the council.

“I accept Ms Saville qualified when she was elected,” said Mr Foster.

“Gilesgate is within three miles of the parish.

“But Seaham is clearly much further away, so anyone living there cannot be a parish councillor in Sherburn.

“As far as I am aware, Ms Saville doesn’t qualify in any other way, such as by working in the parish or having a business there.”

Sherburn is a Lib Dem council and Mr Foster admits he is a supporter of Labour.

“But this is not about me supporting Labour,” he added.

“For this purpose I am supporting the community of Sherburn.

“I don’t hold any position on any councils or committees. I just want to see the people of Sherburn represented by people from the area.”

Parish clerk Claire Maddison said she had received Mr Foster’s complaint and passed it to Durham County Council for investigation.

Ms Maddison added: ”It has been brought to Sherburn Village Parish Council’s attention that one member, having moved to Seaham, no longer meets the eligibility criteria to stand as a parish councillor.

“In accordance with the rules, she has therefore stepped down from her role as councillor with immediate effect”.

Ms Saville, who stood for the Easington constituency at the 2010 General Election – won by Labour’s Grahame Morris – could not be contacted for comment.

It is understood the 32-year-old has been on maternity leave from work.

Her position is likely to remain vacant until the next full council election in May.

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