ONE of Ledbury's best-known and long-standing town councillors, Phill Bettington, has resigned following his belief that the code of conduct, which advises on conduct in public office, is not being followed properly by some fellow councillors.
In accounting for his resignation, he did not name any town councillor for criticism; but his resignation will surely be seen as further evidence of deep and acrimonious divisions within Ledbury Town Council at the present time.
Mr Bettington,a Conservative who was a highly successful and popular town mayor on two occasions, was first co-opted onto the town council in 1998 and was then "re-elected at every election afterwards".
He also served five years as a county councillor, before losing the Ledbury North ward in the May Election of 2015.
His resignation was announced with regret by town mayor, Cllr Debbie Baker, at last week's full town council meeting in the Community Hall, which Mr Bettington did not attend.
Cllr Baker said: "He's a former mayor, and he's been on the council for a good many years. I wish him well."
Mr Bettington's resignation was not discussed further on the night.
Mr Bettington, speaking this week, said: "My resignation has no reflection on the staff of the town council, they tried to talk me out of it even they have had to suffer unnecessary grief from certain councilors and individuals.
"I submitted my resignation for the pure fact of certain councilors not keeping to their word; it got to the point that I did not know which face I was talking to. They do not follow the Little Book of Values principles that the town is said to be following and want to adopt; responsibility being this month's value.
"Respect, honesty and courtesy are values which are also within the Code of Conduct they sign up to."
Mr Bettington added: " I became mayor in 2001 to 2002, and also in 2012 to 2013; I was also deputy mayor to the late Chris Holbourn in 2009 to 2010, and I carried out some of his duties, due to his ill health, and carried on as deputy mayor for the last few weeks after his death in March. His was a sad loss."
Mr Bettington named several highlights from his time as mayor.
He said: "In 2001, I had St George's Chapel Choir of Windsor, the Queen's own Choir, performing in the Parish Church for my charity fund raiser. We gave them a fish and chip supper in the Market House before the event. On the choir's departure, I presented them with a model of the Market House.
"In 2012, the Olympic Torch came through Ledbury; a great honor for the town, and on Diamond Jubilee Day in Hereford, I met the Queen and presented the Best of Ledbury in the marque. On her departure, I presented Her Majesty with a personal gift of a newly commissioned model of the Market House."
Mr Bettington added: "At one of my Civic Services, I had fourteen mayors attending; the most this town has seen."
Mr Bettington said it had been an honour to serve the town as a councillor for more that seventeen years.
He said: "Through all that time the Office Staff were more than helpful; and to the residents of Ledbury, thank you for putting your trust in me. Just because I have resigned, I will still have the town at heart."