Former Mayor of Lyme Regis questioned over impending resignation from town council

The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE

FORMER Mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE, has been questioned over when he intends to resign from the town council.

Cllr Larcombe made a shock announcement on his intention to resign from the council just ahead of the election of the new mayor in early April.

Cllr Larcombe gave three reasons for his impending resignation, saying it was the right time to round off his time on the council, that he had personal and family reasons for stepping down, and that the poor behaviour seen in the council chamber had also contributed towards his decision.

Shortly after Cllr Larcombe’s statement, Cllr Belinda Bawden announced she would also be resigning, saying the behaviour and intimidation shown by some members had “ruined her life”.

She was elected to represent Lyme Regis and Charmouth at Dorset Council the next day.

Neither Cllr Larcombe or Cllr Bawden have since handed in their formal letters of resignation and both currently still remain on the town council. Neither have confirmed if and when they will formally resign.

Cllr Larcombe’s future on the town council was questioned at last week’s Strategy & Finance Committee meeting, after he was put forward for the role of chairman of the influential committee.

Cllr Cheryl Reynolds nominated new mayor, Cllr Michaela Ellis, for the role, while Cllr Graham Turner put forward Cllr Larcombe.

Cllr Rob Smith said both were “good candidates” and asked if they could hear a statement from both before making a decision.

But Cllr Tara Webb questioned why Cllr Larcombe would stand for the role at all, pointing out he had already announced he was intending to resign from the council.

“I’m very confused,” she added.

Cllr David Ruffle then recalled a comment made by Cllr Larcombe during the election of the Strategy & Finance chairman the previous year.

In July 2021, having lost the chairmanship to Cllr Ellis, Cllr Larcombe – who was then mayor – said he did not believe the council could have an effective mayor without them also being the chair of Strategy & Finance, as the two positions were intertwined.

As he was now standing for the position against the current mayor, Cllr Ruffle asked Cllr Larcombe: “Have your views since changed?”

Cllr Larcombe replied: “That was my view but then our current mayor expressed the view, when I was standing for Strategy & Finance chair before, when I was mayor, that the mayor could not also be chair of a committee, which seems quite wrong.”

Cllr Ellis argued that she had not said this, but that a mayor had never previously also served as chairman of Strategy & Finance, until Cllr Larcombe, adding: “Now a precedent has been set.”

Cllr Larcombe said his feelings on the matter “depended on the mayor”.

Cllr Webb then asked Cllr Larcombe outright: “Are you resigning or are you staying on the council?”

Cllr Larcombe replied: “I made my intention known but I haven’t given a date, and I made three good reasons why, one of them being the behaviour of this council.”

Cllr Ellis then won the vote for chairman of Strategy & Finance, with seven votes in her favour, four for Cllr Larcombe and two abstentions. Cllr Richard Doney was elected vice-chairman.

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