Budleigh ward member defends move

Budleigh Salterton ward member Malcolm Florey has spoken out about his decision to move to France while continuing in his role as a district councillor.

Budleigh Salterton ward member Malcolm Florey has defended his decision to live abroad, but continue representing the town.

Councillor Florey said the ward was adequately supported by a three-pronged approach, thanks to a trio of dedicated ward members.

Cllr Florey said his move to France had not affected his work championing the town and district.

The ward member hit back at Budleigh Salterton Town Council’s recent claims he was failing to sufficiently serve the town.

He said email and telephone allowed him to keep his finger on the pulse as far as Budleigh and the ward was concerned.

Cllr Florey rubbished claims his constituents had been let down by his decision to relocate from the UK to France.

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He said regular monthly visits to the UK and email updates from fellow ward members on Budleigh’s day-to-day concerns enabled him to keep abreast of any local issues.

Cllr Florey said his decision to remain a ward member while living in another country was one of responsibility to the people who elected him.

He said stepping down as ward member had been an option – a move he had decided not to take so close to an election.

Cllr Florey said: “I do feel I can continue fulfilling my responsibilities in East Devon for the last six or eight months.

“I have got a lot of support from Ray Franklin and Steve Hall.

“If I was the only ward member that would be a completely different kettle of fish.

“The fact we are a few months away from an election makes a difference.

I was prepared to keep going realising there would be a lot of flack going down.

“I could resign and let the people of the ward down, but I am still doing things that are benefitting the community.”

Cllr Florey said the three ward members each played a specific role in representing the district.

He said his responsibility had been project-based and each challenge presented before him – setting up a farmers’ market, youth club and community shop in East Budleigh – had been successfully achieved.

Cllr Florey said: “I have been doing these things for the ward and for the town with the support of Steve Hall and Ray Franklin.

“I am also able to continue doing work in the ward, for example Pooh Cottage.

“It can’t be for the long-term, but what’s the alternative? I could stand down, but it’s more logical that I keep going.”