A TUNBRIDGE Wells councillor has moved to Norfolk and insisted on keeping his seat and his £5,500-a-year allowance.
Councillor Peter Bulman, who represents Park ward, moved to the county 130 miles away in September but has no intention of giving up his seat in the immediate future.
The Conservative was elected last year and promised to attend meetings while dealing with his constituents inquiries by email and phone.
“I can still serve my constituents by email and phone and there is nothing I have stopped doing. I have not noticed a difference in the feeling locally and I have not seen any backlash.”
“I would like to see issues through,” he continued. “I have been actively campaigning against the Civic Complex and I would not want to stop this. I would feel like I had let them down.
“But I am intending to stand down before the next election [in 2020]. I would not be allowed to stand again, I would give someone else the opportunity to pick up and start over.”
Since May Councillor Bulman has attended three out of four Borough Council meetings. He sent his apologies for missing a Licensing Committee meeting on June 6.
He said that when he was elected in 2016 he had ‘no idea’ he would move to Norfolk, but could not specify when he would leave his post, other than that it would be before when he is due for election in 2020.
Councillor Bulman confirmed he will collect his £5,500 a year allowance but will pay for travel to council meetings himself.
“My allowance is being used in the same way it was before,” he said.
Fellow Park ward representative Councillor Catherine Rankin said: “It is not an ideal situation but because he represents residents and attends the required council meetings it should not be an impediment for him to carry on his duties.
“He has never lived in Park ward, so there is not much of a change. A few people have mentioned it, but I feel as long as he is fulfilling what’s expected it is not relevant.”
Councillor Rankin expressed a preference for Councillor Bulman’s seat to be redistributed at the time of the 2018 ward elections as a stand-alone by-election could cost the public purse.
“It’s right that he stands down in time and that a by-election is held at a time that is most economical,” she added.