A PARISH council meeting ended in a mass walkout after councillors lodged a complaint against a fellow member.

A total of five councillors, including the chairperson, resigned from Hartlebury Parish Council following a meeting last week (Tuesday, October 1).

Clerk Neil Gulliver, who also resigned, confirmed in a notice that the council “is not in a position to carry out any of its functions and will not be holding any further meetings until such time as new councillors have either been elected or appointed.”

Shelagh Fisher, Simon Fletcher, Ian Hutchinson, Vice Chair Ray Kirby, and Chair Ruth Whittaker, all resigned from the council.

Before the meeting, Chair Ruth Whittaker said: “There appears to be no let-up of the same questions regarding the previous Council’s actions and affairs regarding the finances which is crucifying this council’s ability to achieve anything other than to deal with these on-going issues which frankly have been answered on numerous occasions.

“The state of affairs on the council, unfortunately, has become increasingly dire.

“It is increasingly difficult to envision the council being able to conduct much useful work given the continual paralysis, obstruction and demoralisation it faces.

“Previous parish councils have found themselves at a similar impasse, which has resulted in regular losses of clerks and, eventually, resignations en masse.”

Meesha Patel, monitoring officer and legal services manager at Wychavon District Council, said: “Wychavon received confirmation from the clerk at Hartlebury Parish Council that all Parish Councillors, except one, resigned during the Parish Council meeting.

“Notice of the vacancies was published on October 3.

“If the returning officer receives a request for an election to fill the vacancies by October 23, by at least ten electors from the parish, then an election will be held.

“If not, the vacancies will be filled by co-option.

“If an election is called, it will take place no later than December 30.

“We can confirm there is currently an ongoing investigation into a member code of conduct complaint against the one remaining parish councillor.”

The remaining councillor, Sheridan Tranter, said: “It’s very bizarre.

“I have not broken the code of conduct.

“I want to make sure there’s a good transition period before new members are introduced.

“I want to make a positive out of this for the people of the parish.”