Three councillors resign from Kentisbury parish council over Localism Act
THREE councillors have resigned from one parish council over concerns about their personal details being published online under the Localism Act.
Jon Grunwell, Courtney Barrow and David Parker all resigned from Kentisbury Parish Council at its last meeting.
Concerns were raised at the meeting about councillors having to declare theirs and their partners' interests on North Devon Council's website as part of the Localism Act which came into force in November 2011.
Mr Grunwell, who lives in Kentisbury, said although no deadline had been given for the information to be given, he was unhappy with having to declare his and his wife's interests under the act.
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"I had concerns about this when the Localism Act came in," he added.
"It is supposed to bring a bit more power to the people but it is having the opposite effect. In any case it is absolute nonsense because at the beginning of each meeting we have to declare our interests.
Mr Grunwell also had concerns about the way the information could be used, particularly as he owns his own business.
"We employ eight people and I cannot see anybody wanting to do this," he said.
"It is a bit dangerous from a business point of view. Anybody wanting to know about me could go online and find it out.
"I think anybody in my position or my wife's position that had the time and experience in life of what we do is not going to sign up to be a parish councillor.
"This information used to be held by the parish council which is fair enough. I do not have a problem with that, but it is going public."
Gail Laurence, Mr Grunwell's wife, said: "My association with the parish council is only that I live within the parish of Kentisbury Ford.
"My marital status does not permit a third party to publish information about me for which I have not given permission."
Mr Grunwell served for two-and-a-half years on the parish council.
He said: "We only do this because it is nice to try to put something back into the community and we give up a lot of time doing it."
North Devon Council spokesman Claire Holm said: "We have nearly completed putting our up to date members' registers of interests online after a change to the regulations.
"Technically, a councillor generally does not need to complete a new register of interest form until after they are next elected, but following government guidance, we have encouraged councillors to do so now and are in the process of publishing them on the council's website.
"A councillor cannot vote on anything in which they have an interest, whether they've declared it or not."