A COUNCIL chairman has resigned from the role and launched a scathing attack on his now former colleagues.

Christopher Ridgers has dramatically quit as chairman of Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council after less than a year in the role.

Mr Ridgers made the shock move on Sunday, emailing fellow councillors to announce that he was resigning as both chairman and a councillor with immediate effect.

In the email, he said that for some time he had been "concerned by a number of issues" and claimed the authority was failing to meet ethical, behavioural and administrative standards "which the town is entitled to expect from its council".

Mr Ridgers only took on the chairman role last April and, in a lengthy statement to the Cotswold Journal, explained his aim had been to "restore the council's credibility".

But he claimed the pace of change was too slow and had been hampered "by some councillors who appear to be fighting personal interest battles or seeking to avoid addressing questionable past decisions, rather than acting for the common good of the town.”

Mr Ridger said: "Rather than seeking to engage constructively and regularly with those involved in parking issues, the council embarked on an approach which sidelined the work of the Parking Working Group – a body which the council set up.

"The council has invoked a right to hold discussions behind closed doors, out of the public arena, more often in the last nine months than the aggregate of such discussions by Chipping Camden, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water councils.

“Residents who pay to have their common areas of grass kept mown will no doubt be surprised that the council’s grass-cutting contract includes residential area land which it is not the council’s responsibility to mow.”

Mr Ridgers said he had also quit as a Redesdale Hall Trust trustee, as he singled out that particular issue for being an example "where the council are aware of previous decisions which may not be sound, but takes no action to correct them".

Mr Ridgers said the Redesdale land, acquired by the council from Esso, has outstanding issues after a grant was issued for a long-term low fixed price lease to the bowls club to occupy part of the site.

Mr Ridgers said: "Legal opinion in the council’s possession for many months is that the council should have sought the prior approval of the Secretary of State for the Environment for change of use of land, which is designated as allotments.

"Of equal concern is the apparent avoidance of contact with Esso, who retain an interest in the land, and who have a veto over any proposed change of use.”

The Cotswold Journal contacted the town council's clerk, Caroline Doran, for comment on the issues raised by Mr Ridgers, but she told us that the authority would need to call a meeting before providing a full statement.

After being unable to meet before our deadline, a short statement from the town council said: "The council is unable to respond at this time and any complaints will be dealt with by Cotswold District Council’s monitoring officer."