A COUNCILLOR who has been automatically disqualified after failing to attend several meetings believes a lack of recognition made her position “untenable”.

Nicola Overton was a Tendring Council and UKIP representative for the West Clacton and Jaywick Sands ward from May 2019 until October this year.

Initially, it was unknown whether or not she herself had decided to step down, but records show she only attended three council meetings out of a possible seven.

By law, a councillor must attend a council or committee meeting at least every six months, otherwise they will automatically be removed.

The authority can pass a motion to extend the absence period, and in March Ms Overton had her permitted period of absence extended due to both the Covid-19 lockdown cancelling many qualifying meetings and due to Ms Overton’s ill health.

Since then the council has held an extensive programme of online meetings, but with no further exemption applied, Ms Overton was automatically disqualified as a councillor following a second six months without attending any meetings.

She has now said she was unable to continue in her role due to a combination of ill health and also feeling she was never truly allowed to have her voice heard.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me to be their councillor, it is with a heavy heart I am unable to continue due to ill health,” she said.

“I also felt my position was made untenable due to not having my voice heard and my hard work not being recognised.

“My intention was always to get a better standard of living for my residents and to get the infrastructure that is needed.

“My only wish is for West Clacton and Jaywick Sands is to get the time and effort that it truly deserves as it a beautiful ward with a huge heart.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Brad Thompson, 35, who lives in Jaywick, has become a big part of the community since moving to the area, and helped set up a neighbourhood watch group.

He has now officially thrown his hat in the ring, announcing he will be running in next May’s local election in a bid to replace Ms Overton.

He said: “I am standing for Tendring Independents because I believe Jaywick needs a member of the community to be a councillor, not someone from outside the area.

“I also believe if Jaywick stands together as one, we all stand a better chance.”