Councillor quits over cash row

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AN ANGRY town councillor has resigned from his position after it was agreed to hand £5,000 of public money to a group that was previously fighting the development of Eastern Way Playing Field.

Colin Morgan (pictured), who was mayor of Daventry Town Council until last month, said he can no longer serve on the council after it voted in favour of handing the funds over to Friends of Daventry Open Spaces (FODOS) at a meeting on Monday.

FODOS had last year been campaigning to stop the development of the playing field, which is earmarked to be turned into a marina and canal complex.

Earlier this year it was agreed by Daventry District Council that a two-acre plot of the field will be protected, which FODOS accepted as a satisfactory compromise.

The cash given to FODOS from the public purse will pay for the group’s backdated legal fees.

The town council put a motion forward late last year to give £1,500 to FODOS, despite there being questions raised over the legality of the move.

But after clearing the way the council this week decided to hand over a total of £5,000.

Mr Morgan said he was ‘fuming’ with the decision and believes some councillors have ‘their own agendas’.

He added: “As a result of the meeting I have decided to resign from the council.

“There are a core of councillors who seem to want to ruin the good work of the rest of the group. I feel that some members are acting for themselves and not for the good of the people of Daventry.

“I have been on the town council for four-and-a-half-years and I have enjoyed my time, but I no longer want to be associated with it.

“We are not a cash machine for pressure groups in the town and shouldn’t have given this money to FODOS. It shows a lack of care with taxpayers’ money. We have a beautiful church which needs money (the Holy Cross) but we are unable to support it. Yet we can give money to this group to pay for its legal fees. I am fuming with this decision.”

In 2010 Daventry Town Council also handed a further £650 to FODOS.

Leader of the council Steve Tubb was one of those who voted in favour of handing over the cash.

He said: “We feel this is the best solution for the community group, for the residents, for visitors of Daventry and for the future of the town.

“We can spend £500,000 on looking into bringing POD transport into Daventry but giving £5,000 to FODOS seems to be a bigger deal for some reason. I think we need to put things in perspective.

“The town referendum a couple a years ago showed that most people in Daventry want to protect our open spaces and not have a canal and that is what we are trying to do with this.”

FODOS leader Mike Fletcher added: “We are very pleased with this decision.

“It will go towards paying our outstanding legal fees.”