THE “humbling and touching” response from residents has assured the Poole councillor sacked from the cabinet that she was right to put them first.
Cllr Judy Butt said she had been overwhelmed by flowers and messages of support and was “deeply grateful” for the kindness and concern – and the support from her two ward colleagues.
The Creekmoor ward councillor, who was also a portfolio holder, was dismissed from the cabinet by council leader Cllr Elaine Atkinson after standing up for residents opposing a proposal for a summer traveller site in her ward at Marshes End.
Cllr Butt, who remains a ward councillor, said she wished to correct a misunderstanding regarding temporary stopping places.
She said the chairman of the Southern Poole Chairs Liaison Group, Terry Stewart, asked her last July to convene a meeting over gypsy and traveller problems. She sought advice from the chief executive and council leader and the meeting was held in October.
During the meeting portfolio holder Cllr Mike White explained “the possibility of a temporary stopping place was being investigated”, she said and five more suggestions came from the floor.
The meeting had no decision making powers and a paper from Cllr Butt to cabinet on November 5 enabled Cllr White to take suggestions forward.
“My engagement role rested there,” she said.
When the list of 90 potential sites, shortlisted to two at Creekmoor and Oakdale, were put forward she took her concerns to the council leader.
These included no capital costs, no public consultation, no democratic scrutiny in selecting sites and questionable safety of both sites.
“I truly believed this was my ‘collective responsibility’ to the people of Poole,” she said.
“I accept the leader’s opinion differed from mine on this single issue. It is her absolute right to dismiss me – at no time have I challenged her decision.
“However, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Using that strength, working with my trusted ward colleagues, I will support our residents in the pending planning application, for the benefit of all residents of Poole.”