A TOWN councillor has quit one of the body’s committees following a row over finances.

Councillor Christopher Ecclestone stepped down from Andover Town Council’s policy and resources committee stating he can “no longer lend his name and credibility” to its workings.

The move comes as Cllr Ecclestone sought to pass a motion in a committee meeting on November 14, calling for £40,000 of the council’s budget for 2019/20 be used to boost town centre businesses in the event the Business Improvement District (BID) was rejected in the ballot.

Aside from collaborator Councillor Richard Rowles, members voted down the motion on several grounds, including that the town council already had its cash earmarked for other projects and could not free up funding.

Cllr Ecclestone disputed the claim as incorrect.

In his resignation letter he said: “In light of the failure of the town council or the policy and resources committee to remedy the blatant misrepresentation of the town’s financial status by an officeholder at the last policy and resources committee meeting, I can no longer lend my name and credibility to the proceedings of this committee and therefore I advise my resignation with immediate effect from this committee.

“As the representative of Millway Ward, when I am lied to by an officeholder the voters and residents of Millway Ward are lied to. It’s as simple as that.”

Speaking to the Advertiser the former Australian government worker also raised his concerns over the lack of spending of the council’s allocated funds and growing levels of paid staff which he feels is “ridiculous and out of control.”

He added: “This is to do with bigger issues [than the BID motion]. It often says ‘We can’t do that we have got no money’ and when I press the issue it is all allocated, it is allocated to things and they never spend the money.

“I’m not going to be part of this farce anymore.”

Andover Town Council has responded to Cllr Ecclestone’s resignation and thanked him for his contribution to the group while also saying the member has “misunderstood” the body’s financial position.

The authority stated its finances and organisational structure is “fully debated and approved” by full council, and the council is “regularly audited and meets all current legal requirements.”

A spokesperson added: “At the November policy and resources meeting Cllr Ecclestone sought to allocate £40,000 to a project but did not clearly define how the funds would be spent.

“Other councillors rejected this because of legal and financial considerations. Cllr Ecclestone believed the papers presented to the committee showed the council had funds to cover his project. The money currently in the bank is required for earmarked reserves (specific projects) and operation reserves (day to day running).

“The council holds financial reserves to cover up to six months operational costs because it receives its income (council tax) from Test Valley Borough Council in two six month lots.

“Unfortunately Cllr Ecclestone appears [to have] misunderstood the council’s financial position, in particular the need to hold operational reserves, and [has] chosen not to accept the decision made.”

Cllr Ecclestone remains a member of Andover Town Council and its planning committee.