RDC councillor quits weeks after election

Bexhill Town Hall SUS-150528-150342001
Bexhill Town Hall SUS-150528-150342001

Battle’s new representative on Rother District Council has stood down from the role – three weeks after he was elected as a councillor.

Martin Noakes won one of the two seats up for grabs in the Battle Town Ward at the local election on May 7.

There was shock in the town as the Conservative ousted Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Dixon by just 65 votes.

But it was confirmed this week Mr Noakes had decided to stand down because of on-going health issues.

Councillor Carl Maynard, who acts as the Conservative group leader and leader of Rother District Council, confirmed to the Observer that Mr Noakes had spoken to RDC chief executive Malcolm Johnston on Wednesday.

He said Mr Noakes had been experiencing ill health through the election campaign.

Cllr Maynard said: “The issue is we were aware of illness through the election campaign and that ill health has continued.

“He feels he will be unable to continue the role.

“We very much regret the situation as a party but one cannot avoid ill health, and it happens.”

A by-election is expected to take place some time in July.

Cllr Maynard confirmed a Tory candidate will be standing.

He said: “The Conservative Party will be fielding a strong candidate in the by-election.”

Whoever wins the by-election will serve alongside Battle’s councillor Kathryn Field.

Cllr Field worked alongside her Lib Dem colleague Kevin Dixon for a number of years.

She said Battle ‘deserved’ two hard-working representatives.

“I miss Kevin. We were a hard working team. Even though I am abroad I am still working for residents and doing work which would previously have been done by Kevin,” she said.

“The residents of Battle need and deserve two hard-working representatives at Rother and the quicker the current unsatisfactory situation can be resolved the better it will be for all.”

Malcolm Johnston, Rother District Council executive director of resources and returning officer, said: “When a candidate is elected, by law they must sign a formal declaration accepting office before they can take up their duties.

“Mr Noakes has now formally accepted the role and informed us he wishes to resign for health reasons.

“A date for a by-election will be announced in due course.”