Two Plymouth councillors live in Gloucestershire

One of Owl’s not so myopic Moles has a sense of déjà vu.

Moley recalls that in 2010 Budleigh Salterton, for a year, became a French Commune. This was when Malcolm Florey, Conservative District Councillor for the Town, retired to live in France and continue his reign of governance from there. Budleigh Salterton sur Mer.

Rivals send moving card

Philip Churm, local democracy reporter 

Cllrs Sue Dann, Tudor Evans and Bill Stevens prepare a moving card

In a light-hearted sneer at two Plymouth councillors who no longer live in the city, the Labour group is sending them a card wishing them well in their new home – more than hundred miles away.  

Cllr Dan Collins (Plympton Chaddlewood) and his partner Cllr Shannon Burden (Moor View) were both elected as Conservative councillors in May 2021.

Cllr Burden left the Conservative group five months later and now sits as an independent. 

The couple have now moved out of the city and are believed to be living in Gloucestershire but some councillors have been critical, suggesting they should not be representing residents of Plymouth if they live so far away. 

As councillors, they are entitled to claim allowance from Plymouth City Council of more than £11,000 each. 

Deputy leader of Plymouth Labour, Cllr Sue Dann (Sutton & Mount Gould) said:  “We thought a card would be a nice gesture to mark the occasion because no-one begrudges them pursuing their careers and their life together.”

While some Labour members maybe unhappy at Cllr Collins and Burden living away from the areas they represent, the rules don’t prevent it. 

The Local Government Act 1972 states: “If a member of a local authority fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of his/her last attendance to attend any meeting of the authority, he/she shall, unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the authority before the expiry of that period, cease to be a member of the authority.”

Cllr Collins and Burden have both attended enough meetings to stay within the rules. 

Out of a possible six meetings in the past six months, Cllr Burden has been at three and Cllr Collins has been at all 10 of the meetings he could attend.  

Last October Cllr Burden strengthened the power of independents on Plymouth City Council which now stands at nine after several Tories left.  

Cllr Collins, who sits on the performance, finance and customer focus overview and scrutiny committee was criticised shortly before being elected for politicising traveller and gypsy communities by placing an advertisement saying: “Travellers on the playing field – Conservatives would have taken action to prevent this. Remember the Labour council did nothing, when you vote at the local elections.”

The large card, sent by to Cllrs Collins and Burden has a picture of a cow on the front with the words: “You’ve Moooo-ved.”  

Inside, the message reads: “Good luck in your new home. From the Labour Group in Plymouth.” 

Several attempts have been made to contact the two councillors but neither have replied.