COUNCILLOR Felicity Cotton, the independent councillor representing the Drybridge Ward, has announced she is stepping down with immediate effect.
She was elected as an Indy Monmouth councillor in 2017 and was immediately elected mayor with the aim to increase engagement with the public.
As an elected councillor, she wanted to honour the pledge to “deliver a town council that actively encourages public participation, as we endeavour to create a progressive and sustainable Monmouth”.
However she came in for criticism from Councillor Mat Feakins for a “shambolic’ AGM.
He said the new mayor should ‘publicly apologise’ to the town and the office staff on behalf of the town council.
“There are members of the community who are really deeply shocked and saddened by Monday’s events.” he added.
He went on to say in 2017: “If all the elected members and the staff had of been aware of the wishes of the Indy group we could have arranged to have our Mayor Making Ceremony on that evening with all other business adjourned for a number of days or even a week. The surprise element was not necessary and very unprofessional bordering on lunacy.”
But Cllr Cotton soon found support throughout the council as her hard work and dedication as mayor proved her to be a valuable asset to Monmouth Town Council.
However she stood down from the Indy group in mid July 2017 and stayed on the town council as an independent councillor.
There were many highlights during her spell in office.
The council re-invented the Christmas Lantern Parade, supported by The Monmouth Rotary Club and proved a huge success.
Alongside that was the Community Civic Ceremony held in the summer, and the full range of community driven events she attended as mayor for the town.
“All can be attributed to the creative and generous contributions from local residents, schools, businesses and community groups that Monmouth is so rich in,” she said.
She was also the driving force behind the Welsh Government cluster meeting, encompassing the town and county councils, chairing the Public Realm Group and robustly defending the town council against accusations by the Civic Society of bottling out of further funding for redevelopment work in Agincourt Square.
Other achievements include writing the applications for the First World War Armed Forces Covenant grant, the ‘Nature isn’t Neat’ grant where Monmouth was a pilot town for two years as well as securing £5k from the Welsh Government for cluster funding.
Other projects she supported was reigniting the Agincourt Square plans, working to find coach parking spaces and additional support for open access play holiday schemes.
However she became “deeply disappointed” with the increasingly personal level that political game playing within the town council when she was refused by one Councillor to be allowed to vote on an item of council grants in her ward at a Community Affairs sub-committee meeting, which she claimed undermined her role as councillor for the Drybridge Ward.
In a statement to the Beacon, she said:” I am extremely grateful to have worked with the Monmouth community for the last year and I wish the council and the ongoing projects the very best for the future.”
County Councillor Mat Feakins, once her biggest critic, said he understood the reason Felicity Cotton left was due to bullying by her former Indy Group members, “a tactic used to undermine the council and elected members and explained in the booklet ‘Flat Pack Democracy’, by ousting the elected members they can try to get their own members elected.
“Its disgraceful and I’m sure not what people voted for. It’s been more like Macbeth than Monmouth at Shire Hall over the last year,” he added.