Posted: Mon 1st Oct 2018

By-election date set to be announced following resignation of Connah’s Quay Town Councillor

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Oct 1st, 2018

The date for an election to find a new Connah’s Quay town councillor is expected to be announced this week after the mandatory 10 letters were received by members of the community expressing a wish from an election to take place.

The vacancy for the Golftyn ward, which is expected to be strongly contested, was triggered by the resignation at the end of August of Cllr David Mellor just sixteen months into a five year term.

Cllr Mellor was elected in May 2017, he resigned after “growing frustrated by a lack of support” from fellow councillors over a school funding issue in Connah’s Quay.

Mr Mellor accused Flintshire County Council of “sheer incompetence and mismanagement” over the handling of a £140,000 fund from a housing developer to improve facilities at Wepre Park primary school.

Flintshire Council received the funding as part of a legal agreement with David Wilson Homes in 2011.

Known as a section 106 agreement, the money was to be used at the primary school on the grounds pupil numbers could swell due to to 137 new homes planned for Ffordd Newydd.

Council chiefs said the £140,000 could only be used for large scale capital projects such as an extension which would have meant the council having to find additional funds at a time of deep cuts to local authority budgets.

The council also said there was no ‘evidence’ to suggest the school needed increasing in size.

Chief Officer for Education and Youth Claire Homard said: “The pupil population at the time and the demography of the area did not provide any evidence to support increasing the capacity of the school.”

In line with a legal agreement with Flintshire Council, David Wilson Homes requested the unused money to be paid back, six and a half years after the initial deal was struck.

Mr Mellor is fighting to keep the funding for the school, he pointed to the last two Esytn reports, from 2010 and 2015, which both make comments about how the school building is not fit for purpose.

He turned to fellow town councillors on Connah’s Quay Town Council for support on the issue but received next to none.

Talking to, David said he resigned from the town council because he became “completely disillusioned by the lack of support and actual action people were prepared to take.”

When this [section 106 school fund] first came to light I had an angry call from one councillor more concerned with how it would look for him than the issue in hand.

More than one fellow member promised me help and support only to then get radio silence.” He added.

Good people

David said elected members serving on the town council are ‘good people’ but their lack of support and the need to “get to the bottom” of the school funding issue left him little choice but the resign. He said:

“I want to be absolutely clear that the people on the council are inherently good people with good intentions.

Unfortunately, the pace at which they move and their unwillingness to stick their neck on the line against the County Council and a large developer meant I was on a hiding to nothing.

If I wanted actual results and to get to the bottom of who was ultimately responsible for this mess I knew I’d have more of a chance going it alone rather than swimming against the tide.”

David’s resignation is a blow to the council, an award-winning blogger he was seen as somebody who could engage with younger members of the community.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when one individual using social media becomes the catalyst for action rather than the group of people voted in to represent the public.”He said.

David says he has recently had a “very positive” meeting with Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami who has since lent his support to this issue.

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