THE recent dramas surrounding Andover town council took yet another twist this week as the town mayor backed calls for the authority he leads to be abolished.

Yesterday Love Andover published an article calling for the abolition of the authority. And shortly afterwards town council chairman and mayor of Andover, Councillor Richard Rowles endorsed those views expressed in the story.

Commenting on Facebook he wrote: “After the disgusting display by these councillors on Monday I find I have to agree.

“I totally condemn and distance myself from the actions of these so-called councillors.

“Chairing meetings containing these individuals has become impossible due to their lack of procedural and legal knowledge, and their failure to take my advice as chair and that of our proper officer.”

On Monday, an extraordinary town council meeting was held in which a number of motions, put forward by Cllr Rowles, were to be debated by the group.

However, councillors clashed during the discussions and decisions on the motions were ultimately deferred. Love Andover has since retracted its applications for project funding for youth workers and a sensory Christmas grotto.

Cllr Rowles then today (Thursday) issued a 1,000-word statement reiterating his belief that disbanding the council, and leaving it in the control of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), is the only way forward.

He concluded: “Ejecting these individuals using the current standards system is impossible, so the time has come for us to keep them to their word or show them the door and get TVBC to take on the responsibilities currently executed by the town council.”

Speaking to the Advertiser after the press release, he also noted that he would be happy to “go back to the polls” and vote on an entirely new town council.

“If they signed a letter saying, ‘If we resign, will you resign as well?’ I would say yes,” he said. “I would go back to the polls.”

“We can’t go on like this for another three-and-a-half years,” he added.

Others have weighed in on the debate, including TVBC leader Cllr Phil North who describes the situation as “utterly extraordinary”.

Commenting via his Facebook page, he said: “I have previously defended the Town Council, believing that once again it could become a force for good in our town, but we are now in the utterly extraordinary situation where the Mayor is actively campaigning to abolish his own authority.

“If he or his colleagues no longer have the desire to get on and run the Town Council for the benefit of Andover residents then they should resign – and the people of Andover should have their say on whether they want the Town Council to continue or not.”