A TOWN councillor has announced his resignation from the Andover Alliance amidst fears that the public have “lost all their trust” in the party.

Michael James, Andover town councillor for St Mary’s ward, this week told the Advertiser be would be quitting the party ahead of the full council meeting this evening (Friday).

He said his resignation letter would be arriving at the town council offices first thing this morning.

Amongst the factors driving his decision, the St Mary's ward councillor says that “infighting” between others is a major reason he no longer wishes to be affiliated with the party.

He said: “With everything that’s going on, I can’t get on and do anything that I need to do in the community because it’s all taken up with infighting between our chairman and the other new group that’s started.

“Change is good – this is why the Andover Alliance was set up and we all got voted in. People understood our manifesto and they wanted change, but it’s just not working.

“It’s the infighting that’s doing it.”

He says he believes that the public no longer has faith in the party to do the job it was elected to do.

“They’ve lost all their trust in the Andover Alliance,” he said. “From the beginning people trusted us and they voted us in to do a job and I just feel the job’s not going to get done.

“We’ve got to go through another three years of this, on and on and on. What’s going to happen in the end I do not know.

“But a lot of people haven’t got the confidence in me to do a job because of what’s been happening.”

He added: “I just want to get on and do a job. And I need now to build up the public’s trust in me.

“I want them to see they can come to me with any matters at all and feel I am going to go to the right place and get these things done.”

Cllr James stresses that he is not resigning from the council – just the Andover Alliance. He plans to sit on the authority as an independent councillor.

His resignation makes him the fifth councillor to leave the party since the local elections in May.

Cllrs Christopher Ecclestone and Rebecca Meyer were expelled from the group in July before Cllr Joanne Coole then departed. And last month the deputy mayor, Cllr Lauren Banville, quit after claiming her voice “wasn’t heard”.

Cllr James says he spoke to Cllr Banville before coming to his decision, and echoed her sentiments about wanting to have his “own voice” on the council.

“I’m going to stay independent,” he added.

“Then I can vote the way I want to vote, rather than being told what to vote for. I will have my own mind and my own voice.”

Cllr James also noted that this isn’t the first time he tried to quit the party.

He said: “I spoke to Richard and a couple of the others and I said, ‘I’ve had enough.’ This was a couple of months ago.

“They talked me out of it and said changes are going to be made. Well if changes are going to be made, they should have been made within two months.”

Despite the split he says he wishes his former party colleagues all the best moving forward.

“I wish them well,” he added. “I hope that they can get their problems sorted before it’s too late.”

The leader of the Andover Alliance, Cllr Richard Rowles, has been contacted for a comment on the news.