Lewes town councillor resigns his seat

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An independent Lewes Town councillor resigned last week opening the way for a possible by-election in October.

Cllr Matt Kent, who represented Bridge ward, said he took the decision reluctantly.

“With the ever increasing demands of my architectural career, mixed with the demands of my young family, added with the demands of my wife Vicky flying all over the world as part of her job, I need to redress my work/life balance,” he said in a statement read as part of the Mayor’s announcements at last Thursday’s full council meeting.

“Given my hard work for Bridge Ward communities, I’m sure you can appreciate it has been far from easy for me to resign, so I’d like to think the future new member has the drive and the willingness to serve their community diligently and that they are under no illusion about what lies ahead of them.

“In the majority of cases I have greatly enjoyed serving as a Town Councillor, and will miss the local debates and the local issues.

“That, however, will not stop me being consciously involved in local groups and encouraging local people to get involved with local issues. As that is what makes our town and our communities so special.

“I might even encourage other local people to stand as an Independent candidate as part of the consequential by-election process.”

As resignations are effective immediately they are received by the mayor, Mr Kent’s statement was read as part of Mayor Ruth O’Keefe’s announcements while he sat in the public gallery.

The mayor said: “We were sorry to receive Cllr Kent’s resignation, as we would be for any serving Councillor, but he clearly stated his reasons and we must accept them.

“I and my colleagues all understand how difficult it can be to balance the demands of public service with those of a career and home life; especially with a young family.

“We appreciate Matt’s energy in supporting local issues, and wish him well for the future.”

Fellow cllr Stephen Catlin said: “I am very sorry Matt felt he can only take this course of action.

“He may not always have been right but he always gave an honest expression of his feelings on any subject and in my opinion did his best for the residents of Bridge ward.

“Unlike some other councillors he knew exactly where the parapet was and was never afraid to put his head above it. It is that sort of campaigning I feel is paramount if this is not to be a moribund council only remembered for its protocol that wearing of gowns is no longer obligatory.”