The youth member of parliament for North West Hampshire has called on Andover Town Council to put “political agendas aside” after his grant application was put on hold for months.

Dmitrijs Meiksans MYP made the call in an email sent to members of the council after a grant application to run a ‘Covid-19 Unsung Heroes Award’ was stuck in limbo for 158 days.

He called on the council to “actually achieve something as a collective” and said he has “simply had enough of this going back and forth”.

In response, town mayor Richard Rowles said that the grant had now been signed off for payment.

Dmitrijs plans to run a Test Valley COVID-19 Unsung Heroes Award to recognise those who have “gone above and beyond to support their fellow residents”, in association with other organisations in Test Valley.

To fund the awards, he submitted grant applications to both Andover Town Council and Romsey Town Council. He says that while the application to the latter was approved in short order and “paid promptly”, he received “no response” from the former.

“I was starting to become hopeless as to receiving the partial funding from the Andover Town Council,” he said. I had sent a follow-up email to the Town Council Clerk about my grant application after the four-week period in which it stated on the confirmation email I had to wait - no response.”

After meeting Cllr Rebecca Meyer at a workshop, he was informed by the council that his grant application had been lost in a “PC glitch”. It was due to be discussed at an emergency meeting of the Assets and Communities Committee, following the intervention of Cllr Meyer, but this too was delayed following staff being placed on gardening leave.

Subsequently, it was approved by the committee, and “things were starting to look up”. However, the intended payment date passed without the funding being received. Dmitrijs was then told that there was another hurdle to getting the grant, with Cllr Rowles informing him that the grant had to be sent to full council following recommendation from the internal auditor.

Dmitrijs says he was then called by the mayor who offered to pay the grant from his TVBC councillor’s budget “on the assumption that my grant would not pass Full Council because it didn't show obvious benefit to Andover residents.”

“I find it interesting that Cllr Rowles, all of a sudden, presents me with this,” Dmitrijs said.

The MYP said that he has “simply had enough of this going back and forth” and that approving the grant would help change public perception of the town council.

He said: “I need this project to go through, the public needs this project to go through as well as this Council – to finally place this very Council in a different light, in a different topic, not one of politics, not one of scandal or disgraceful behaviour on some part, but one of the Council supporting a project that would unify, reward and highlight the community.

“My experience not only as a grantmaker, as an elected representative but also as a member of the public has been absolutely horrific - simply atrocious.”

He called on councillors to unite behind supporting the community, saying: “Put your political agendas aside and actually achieve something as a collective, rather fighting on the inside, as the public watch.”

Since contacting the council, the Advertiser understands that the grant to Dmitrijs has now been paid. Cllr Meyer said that the delays by the council were “unacceptable,” and said that she hoped lessons had been learnt.

She said: “The appalling and frankly embarrassing delays by the Council, firstly in processing the grant application by the Officers and secondly the approval by the Town Mayor have been unacceptable. I understand that the grant has finally been paid and now this amazing project will go ahead.

“I very much hope the Council has learned valuable lessons from this very sorry state of affairs and has put in place measures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

Cllr Rowles said that there had been delays in the processing of the grant, and said that Dmitrijs should have spoken to resolve his concerns. He added that the issue “has been resolved”, having been signed off in the last week.

He said: “I also offered to support the DM in his quest on this project with money from the Winton Ward Grant with TVBC - although this offer was not taken up, it's an excellent project, this grant would be in addition to the TVBC Multi-ward grant he has already received."