Four step down in email row

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FOUR members of Red Lodge Parish Council have resigned after offensive emails were circulated around the community.

A statement read out before a meeting of the parish council on May 14 announced the resignation of chairman Julie Kerridge and councillors Valerie Winfield, Katy Cooper and Nicola Johnston.

Two scathing anonymous emails which are believed to have attacked one of the former councillors had been circulated to community groups and district and county councillors during the proceeding weeks.

Former chairman of the parish council Julie Kerridge said she felt very strongly that what was said in the emails was unjust but their circulation had caused her to decide it was best to take a step back.

Councillor Alan Farnaby has also stepped down, however, his resignation has not been connected to the emails.

The five resignations left only two councillors in post and the council unable to continue business.

Forest Heath District Council has used its powers to co-opt district councillors Roger Dicker and Andy Drummond to sit on the council in the short term.

Cllr Dicker said: “The emails were sent to a wide range of people in the community and have had the result that two thirds of the council felt they could not carry on.

“It’s very sad what these people have done because the outcome is a mess which we are trying to sort out.”

Mrs Kerridge said: “It’s not something we wanted to do but we felt it was the right thing to do in the circumstances. We were trying to make sure that Red Lodge gets the best value for money.

“Red Lodge is a thriving community, there are some good people here and they deserve better than nasty emails. It’s a sad thing that’s happened but the community needs to work to improve things and make sure that everybody gets a nice place to live.”

Suffolk county councillor Lisa Chambers said: “It’s a positive for the village that we are able to move forward with the notice of vacancies and be able to re-form and rebuild.”

Mrs Kerridge said all those who resigned had been active and hard-working members of the council.

New councillors will be co-opted or elected to fill the vacancies.