A TOWN councillor has resigned, citing health reasons as well as the "appalling behaviour" of a breakaway group of councillors.

Alison Watts (Andover Alliance, Millway), who was chairman of the allotments committee on the authority before her resignation, has officially stood down.

She becomes the eighth resignation from the town council in 14 months, in addition to two others who didn't take up their seats after being elected.

Mrs Watts said that she stood for the Alliance at last May's elections because they were "non-political".

However, she said "things began to change" after the election, and accused the Andover Independents Party, which was formed in October after a number of councillors were expelled from the Andover Alliance, of causing her stress.

"Four of the councillors started the Andover Independents Party, things changed and with their appalling behaviour especially online, councillors started to resign," Mrs Watts told The Advertiser.

"This year my health has not been at its best, I think a lot of it has been all of the stress with what has happened with these councillors.

"I am sorry to be leaving but my health must come first."

Reacting to the news, the town's Mayor, Cllr Richard Rowles, labelled the party a "bellicose gang of Facebook-bound keyboard cowards".

He continued: "Alison is an amazing person, seeing her face when she got elected a year ago May was even better than me getting elected. The Andover Alliance was always about getting regular people involved in local politics not people consumed by their own agenda or those of national political parties.

"It must now be clear to everyone that the Andover Independents were formed as a result of their lust for power and to push a bizarre agenda, that especially amidst the Covid crisis should not be top of the agenda.

"Beginning with the then Cllr Fitchet, Cllr Blackmore, Cllr Harbor, through to Alison all have declared the bulling of this bellicose gang of facebook bound keyboard cowards as the reason for their departure. Because of this our town has lost some superb Cllrs, but whatever happens they will not bully me from office, even then Cllr James resigned to the ambulance chasing Cllr Coole.

"The issues the Andover Alliance stood for which Alison refers to are Youth Services, better support for veterans, and helping our environment. These are still top of the agenda in what ever way we push this agenda."

However, Cllr Christopher Ecclestone, of the Andover Independents Party and Mrs Watts' fellow ward councillor in Millway, labelled the accusations as "pathetic".

"There is no other word for it," he elaborated.

"She hasn't turned up to a bunch of meetings because of ill health and now she is resigning.

"I haven't spoke to her for ten months, no one speaks to her.

"I email her with business about the ward and there is no response. I am not surprised."

He continued to say that of the seven Andover Alliance members elected at last May's elections, one remains.

"The leader of that group did not even turn up for three or four months after last year.

"So I am boggled that the party falling apart is blaming us when we were expelled. We are not interested in them.

"If the tree falls in the forest, does anyone see it or hear it fall?"